If it wasn’t so tragic, it would make amusing reading to look back at the news that Renato Sanches would be joining Swansea City in the summer of 2017.
An “incredible coup” was what one national newspaper hoped for, while many supporters hailed the capture of the previous year’s Golden Boy as the signing of the season.
After becoming the youngest ever player to win the European Championships with Portugal, a move to Bayern Munich had failed to propel him to the heights expected.
Under Carlo Ancelotti in the 2016/17 campaign, the Bavarians handed him just six Bundesliga starts and it quickly became apparent he needed to go on loan if he was to get regular game time.
So, what’s happened in south Wales? Just like Swansea more generally, the first half of the season was immensely disappointing, with former boss Paul Clement describing him as “damaged” in an interview with the Times.
Whereas things have picked up for his team-mates since the arrival of Clement’s replacement, Carlos Carvalhal, nothing has improved as far as Sanches is concerned since the turn of the year.
The 20-year-old hasn’t played since the 1-1 draw with Notts County in January because of injury and it’s quite conceivable that he won’t play again this term.
SANCHES CAME AT A HEAVY PRICE
That makes the cost of Swansea’s gamble sound all the more pricey. According to WalesOnline, when his loan fee and wages are taken into account, the club have been set back £7.5million, or to be precise, £500,000 an appearance.
Every minute he has played (859) has therefore cost them £8,731, which isn’t great for a midfielder whose most memorable moment to date came when he accidentally passed to the advertising boards because they were the same colour as the Swansea away kit.
— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) November 30, 2017
In recent weeks, Sanches spent some time back with Bayern but is now back in Swansea.
Carvalhal admitted in his press conference this week that the youngster is not ready to play against Manchester City this weekend and was cautious when asked if he’ll play again between now and May.
“We may need him in the last week, we could have injuries,” Carvalhal said.
“Expectations are low at this moment that is all we can say.
“We are not at the beginning of the season, we are near the end, he has been out for three months and is not ready.”