Renato Sanches completed one of the more surprising moves on transfer deadline day, with the promising Portuguese midfielder heading to Premier League club Swansea City on a one-year loan from Bayern Munich. Sanches, 20, joins a Swansea side that has taken four points from its opening three games in the Premier League. Here's how the deal grades for all parties involved:
For Swansea City: A+
No question about it: This is a coup for Swansea City. Yes, even though it's just a loan. And yes, even though it's only for one season. Renato Sanches was one of Portugal's best players at Euro 2016 at just 18 years old, but the resulting move to Bayern Munich hasn't quite worked out so well. Sanches made just 17 appearances for Bayern last season, but is still widely considered to be one of Europe's top young talents. Players like that don't come available very often, particularly for teams for which finishing upper-midtable would be considered a success. Sanches's relentless style of play should be a great fit for the Premier League, and he can provide a nice balance to a Swansea midfield already strengthened this offseason with the addition of Hull City's Sam Clucas.
For Bayern Munich: B
Bayern Munich fans likely expected big, immediate things from Sanches upon purchasing him from Benfica before last season, but life was always going to be more complicated than that. Sanches has undeniable quality, but is still raw–raw enough to where he simply wasn't going to contribute to Bayern's campaign this season in any meaningful way. Rather than have him sit on the bench or play with reserves, Bayern is allowing one of its better young players to get more playing time, in the hopes that he'll come back a better, more complete player with a full season of top-level experience under his belt. There's no downside for Bayern here, except any potential ripple effects in transfer markets to come – will young players now think twice about joining Bayern if they know opportunities will be limited, and a quick loan is a possibility?
For Renato Sanches: A+
He impressed with Benfica and lit up Euro 2016, but was a disappointment in his first season at Bayern. Still just 20, what Sanches needs at this point in his development is to play as many meaningful games as possible. He'll get that chance at Swansea, under a coach he knows well (Paul Clement worked as Carlo Ancelotti's No. 2 at Bayern before his hire at Swansea), and another coach that is among the best in history at Sanches's position (Claude Makelele). The latter of those two could work wonders with this player over a full season–it'll be fascinating to see how he matures.