Bayern Munich caused something of a stir at the end of last season when they beat Manchester United to the signing of Portuguese wonderkid Renato Sanches.
The Premier League side had been courting the 18-year-old for much of last year, so it was a huge shock to see him announced as a new signing for Bayern with little hint of a deal being organised beforehand.
Indeed, it seemed at the time that Bayern had spotted a potential stumbling block in the transfer to Man United and sensed their moment to pounce, and the club’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that to be the case.
Rummenigge has revealed that it was the uncertainty over Louis van Gaal’s position at the club that proved to be the way in for the Bundesliga champions – there were suggestions that Van Gaal didn’t want to sign Sanches, and at the time it was far from certain that he would be leaving at the end of that season and Ed Woodward didn’t want to undermine his position.
Speaking to Bild, Rummenigge said:
“We knew very well that Renato had a firm offer from Manchester United.
“I heard that the United deal couldn’t be completed, as they didn’t know who their next manager would be. We invited Benfica’s president and Sanches’ agent to Madrid and that night we shook hands on the transfer.”
Van Gaal, of course, went on to lose his job at the end of the campaign. His successor José Mourinho has already stated that he would have fought to sign the midfielder had he arrived at Old Trafford earlier, but instead they’ll have to make do with £89m signing Paul Pogba.
Sanches, meanwhile, played in his first Champions League game for his new side, coming off the bench in Bayern’s 5-0 win against FC Rostov at the Allianz Arena