Renato Sanches Completes Transfer to Lille from Bayern Munich on 5-Year Contract

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 16: Renato Sanches of FC Bayern Muenchen looks on prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hertha BSC at Allianz Arena on August 16, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/ Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Renato Sanches' largely disappointing spell with Bayern Munich came to an end on Friday, when the Portugal international midfielder left the Bundesliga to join Lille.Β 

Last season's Ligue 1 runners-up confirmed the signing on Twitter:


πŸ”΄LOSC are thrilled to announce the signing of Portugal international midfielder Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich on a five-year deal ! https://t.co/QQOVoz19Rl


Welcome, @renatosanches35 πŸ˜πŸ‘ https://t.co/clzSPOV0Cr

The deal had been expected, with RMC Sport (h/t The Sun's Jake Lambourne) reporting earlier in the day the player was in France for a medical ahead of completing a move worth Β£22.6 million.

Sanches rose to prominence as a youngster at Benfica, but his form dipped soon after he joined Bayern in 2016 for an initial fee of €35 million.

Although he won the UEFA European Championship with his country that same year, Sanches never delivered on his potential in Germany. He made just 53 appearances for Die Roten, scoring a mere two goals in the process.

Even though his time at the Allianz Arena the club took in a pair of Bundesliga titles and winning last season's DFB-Pokal, Sanches was a mere passenger for those triumphs:

FC Bayern English @FCBayernEN

ℹ️ Renato Sanches will leave #FCBayern to join OSC Lille. Thanks for everything, @renatosanches35! https://t.co/vPqy51So2r

A video posted on social media of the midfielderΒ counting cashΒ prompted an apology on Facebook and proved a low moment in Sanches' early attempts to make the grade in Munich. Being sent on loan to then-Premier League club Swansea City in 2017 failed to get Sanches back on track.

Bayern CEOΒ Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club'sΒ official websiteΒ why Sanches has made the move now: "Renato Sanches asked us to agree to the transfer because he wanted to join a club where he can play on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we were unable to guarantee that at FC Bayern. Match practice is also important to him because he wantsΒ a place in the Portugal squad for Euro 2020."

It's a potentially excellent move for Lille and Sanches. Still just 22, there is no doubt the makings of a top-quality player are present in a powerhouse who can move the ball at pace and also has the technique to unlock defences.

Joining a well-run Lille club could be the best thing for Sanches' suddenly flagging career, according to Rich Allen of Get French Football News:

πŸ”΄βš« Rich Allen πŸ”΄βš« @rich_allen85

Renato Sanches to Lille. If anyone can get his career back on track it's Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier. https://t.co/V52dOR8PSV

Sanches will enter a midfield already reinforced by the acquisition of Turkish playmaker Yusuf Yazici. Brazilian Thiago Maia is also still around the anchor the middle.

If Sanches can utilise his natural engine and vision, he could become a useful source of supply for a forward line headlined by Victor Osimhen, who has two goals to start the new season.

While Bayern have produced some excellent business to cash in on Sanches, his departure still underlines the need for reinforcements at the heart of midfield. Die Roten remain keen on Espanyol's Marc Roca, amid conflicting reports about how far said interest has progressed:

Ronan Murphy @swearimnotpaul

Bayern Munich have reached an agreement with Marc Roca, according to L’Equipe. While Bild report that Espanyol could be willing to sell for €30m. #FCBayern #RCDEspanyol

The loan deals for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho and Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic have ensured Niko Kovac's team won't lack for creativity. Yet Bayern need to refresh the holding role and provide another option besides Javi Martinez.