By 90Min
September 22, 2017

Swansea shocked the masses when they announced the loan signing of Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches. What had started out as a mere rumour became one of deadline day's most talked about transfers only 24 hours later, and soon enough his calculated move to South Wales was filling column inches all over the UK.

Fortunately for the 20-year-old, the boy doesn't speak English, let alone read it; so the huge expectation placed on his shoulders by the ruthless British media ahead of the switch likely went unnoticed by him - though Sanches will have been more than aware of just how much of a fuss has been made regarding his arrival.

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His debut for the Swans came as he was thrust straight into the starting XI by Paul Clement; thrown into the deep end of Europe's most physical league - and being a physical player himself, Renato must've expected he would take to England like a duck to water. But soon enough the once European Golden Boy found himself up s**t creek without a paddle.

Receiving a grilling from all sorts of Twitter accounts and pundits, Sanches' debut saw him lose possession 14 times in 28 minutes, and his game more or less continued that way until Clement ended his torturous opening match at around 70 minutes.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and while Sanches looked off the pace, unfit and slightly out of his depth against a recently promoted Newcastle side - people saw his tenacity. And it's bloody exciting, especially in the eyes of a Swansea fan. 

Picture 2010-era Charlie Sheen locked in a room with no cocaine for 48 hours and you have Renato Sanches on a football pitch. He's everywhere. He wants to be involved in every attack, to two-foot everything with a pulse. He's that annoying kid at school who brings his ball in for lunch time and refuses to let anyone else have it.

To see someone fight like he does for a chance to kick a ball is everything a fan wants to watch at a match, and it's so easy to see why Renato Sanches is expected to achieve greatness in his career. There is so much hunger in his game, and Swansea is probably the best place for him to be right now.

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In both the Tottenham and Reading matches in the last week, a gradual improvement has been visible from the stands. He started against Newcastle having only been with the squad for three days. Against Tottenham Renato was much more refined. He wasn't constantly in fifth gear going full steam ahead as if he was a bull, and Hugo Lloris was the red cape.

Sanches had stripped his game back. Get it, and give it. Forward runs every now and then when Spurs had a lapse in concentration. Being pinned into his own half was probably new to Sanches - having spent his short career at Benfica and Bayern, but it's what he'll need.

Soon Sanches will learn that you can't constantly drive forward at every opportunity. At Swansea he'll become smarter; learn his opposition, learn his place in the team and in the next few months he will become the club's biggest asset.

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Against Reading he could afford to be more of his usual self. With Roque Mesa covering Sanches he had a lot more freedom. And while he was still under-hitting passes, not making the best decisions and trying slightly too hard - he's definitely improving.

He's gaining confidence back. Toying with Garath McCleary, the 20-year-old was taking on anyone and everyone he came across. The last year seems to have unfazed him in his desire to entertain. It's truly beautiful.

Clement will mould Sanches. Show him how to take a match by its balls and contort it to his own will. With the Englishman's passing ethos beginning to take shape at Swansea; target men in Tammy Abraham and Wilfried Bony, runners in Jordan Ayew and Luciano Narsingh, and central players in the engine room holding the fort in Roque Mesa and Leroy Fer, Sanches will find himself with a lot of freedom, in a team where he is valued massively.

As soon as Renato gets a real feel for his teammates and the way the team plays, there is so much potential for him to become destructive - but to Joe Bloggs, the Chelsea fan, it will go unnoticed. He won't get assists, nor will he score goals - but he will be the transition between defence and attack. 

Everything will go through him - much like Gylfi Sigurdsson last year, and it will not be a huge shock to see a direct correlation between the on-loan midfielder's improving performances and the amount of goals the Swans score this season.

He'll maintain that hunger and drive, but will be taught how and when to use it - to channel his determination and make it really count towards something. Clement said it will take a while, but we're already seeing glimpses of what is to come from the dread-locked predator. Watch this space. 

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