The Portuguese international Renato Sanches is about to move to a top club. This raises questions, because so far he has not been able to fulfil the great expectations.

The Portuguese is said to be on the verge of a move to a top European club. Two heavyweights, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, are reportedly in a neck-and-neck race.

The astonishment about this is great in the football scene. The question is why the teams want Sanches so badly.

Sanches takes off

At the beginning of his career, everything initially indicated that he could become Portugal’s next big star.

At the age of 18, he already made it into the starting eleven of his youth club Benfica Lisbon. The midfielder quickly became the focus of attention there and was already in the squad for the European Championship in 2016.

There, he not only made the notebooks of the top clubs with his skills, but also helped his team win the European Championship title.

The reward for the youngest player in a European Championship final followed a few months later. He received the Golden Boy for the best youth player.

Sanches with problems at Bayern

FC Bayern had already won the tug-of-war over the talent before the tournament, and those in charge felt more than vindicated after Sanches’ performance at the European Championship.

But things did not go as hoped at all. The Portuguese was far too seldom able to call on his talent. In addition to several injuries, he lacked the confidence of the new coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was under great pressure himself.

Therefore, the record champion decided to loan the then 20-year-old back in 2017 so that he could gain a lot of playing practice and self-confidence.

But the loan to Premier League club Swansea City turned out to be a flop. He only played in twelve games, which was also due to a persistent thigh injury.

Bayern return brings no improvement

Things did not get much better after his return to Germany. Although Niko Kovac was the new coach on the sidelines, the competition for his position was still fierce.

Although he was allowed to prove himself in 24 games, Sanches was not able to make a lasting impression. He simply lacked the necessary self-confidence to bring his game onto the pitch.

Accordingly, it became increasingly clear that the transfer was a flop. A buyer was needed and was found in France with OSC Lille.

“I think we got him one or two years too early,” former CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said a few months ago.

Lille coach criticises Sanches

Things should finally be looking up for the Portuguese at his third club in three years.

He certainly succeeded, having played 91 matches for his current employers since 2019. In the process, he was also part of the champions’ team last year

And although he is getting plenty of game time, the impression is growing that the now 24-year-old is nowhere near fulfilling his potential.

“Renato still needs to become a bit more disciplined, and also mature as a personality,” explained Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, adding that “he has incredible potential, but he needs to call on it more often if he wants to become a big star in the future.”

Sanches with too many escapades

What is meant here are the numerous freak-outs that the midfielder has repeatedly indulged in.

Last season, for example, he gave the opposing fans the middle finger in an away game against Olympique Marseille.

A few months later, against ES Troyes AC, he was sent off within a short space of time when he could not calm down after a caution and vehemently argued with the referee.

Will another change bring out Sanches’ strengths?

And yet Sanches, whose contract expires in 2023, is on the verge of moving to a bigger club.

He wants to play in the position in which he feels most comfortable. “I certainly realise my potential best in the middle and not when I have to change positions so often,” he complained at Lille, where he had to help out on the wing from time to time.

His new club will be hoping that he finally makes the breakthrough. Given his performance so far, however, there is little hope of that.