Renato Sanches has revealed that he turned down the chance to join Manchester United so that he could move to Bayern Munich. United had hoped to complete a deal for the 18-year-old this summer but the Portuguese star opted to join Bundesliga champions Bayern, for an initial fee of £27.5m, instead.
United had scouted Sanches extensively and held a series of talks with Benfica and Jorge Mendes, his agent, in a bid to strike a deal. But Sanches, who is widely regarded as the brightest talent to emerge in Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo, opted to sign a five-year contract that will tie him to the Allianz Arena until June 2021.
Bayern will pay an array of adds on for Sanches, including if he is named in the World Team of the Year or wins the Fifa Ballon d’Or.
Explaining his decision to turn down United to link up with incoming Carlo Ancelotti, Sanches said: “Manchester United made an offer. I think it was well known. But I had other offers as well. “I chose Bayern Munich because it’s a great club. They have a 65,000 seater stadium and an atmosphere similar to Benfica. I’ll win titles.”
Sanches’ decision to reject the chance to join United shows jut how much their post-Sir Alex Ferguson slump has impacted their ability to attract players to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho will hope to turn that situation around when, as expected, he replaces Louis van Gaal as manager, but without Champions League football next season will still face obstacles when he sells the club to potential future signings.
Already players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Southampton forward Sadio Mane and Everton defender John Stones have been linked with moves to Old Trafford.
United have also watched Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Mario but Chelsea and PSG are also interested.