Bayern swooped early to tie up deal bringing Portugal starlet to Bavaria
My article for MARCA
A year can be an awfully long time in football, and so it has proved with the remarkable rise of Renato Sanches.
Sanches began the season with Benfica's underage team in the UEFA Youth League but on Sunday the teenager who Bayern broke the bank to sign will be lining out for his country in the semi-finals of the European Championship.
They can still remember his dazzling display at Atlético, where he ran ragged a defence marshalled by Lucas Hernandez in the Youth League.
He only made his first-team debut with the Lisbon club in the autumn, but went on to feature six times in the Champions League where he produced an eye-catching display against his future employers in their quarter-final defeat.
'Meteoric' doesn't quite encapsulate it.
Bayern beat Manchester United to his signature by forking out a whopping 35 million euros up front - some reports say the fee could eventually reach as high as 80m - and that looks like being a smart move given his stellar displays this summer in France.
The German giants had been tracking his progress for some time and the youngster had also been on the radar of Carlo Ancelotti; so once the Italian was confirmed as Pep Guardiola's successor they wasted little time in securing a kid who could be the the heart of the Bayern midfield for years to come.
Bayern had also been been keeping a keen eye on his compatriot Andre Gomes at Valencia, but a combination of the high valuation slapped upon him by the Spanish side and Ancelotti's insistence on Sanches led the Germans to opt for the latter.
Thus the level of performance provided by the midfielder in this European Championship will have come as little surprise to his new boss.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE AT MARCA IN ENGLISH