Bayern swoop on Sanches, Hummels

Renato Sanches is 18 and has just two Portugal caps, but the midfielder is so highly-rated that he is Manchester United's top transfer target. But he signed for Bayern Munich, who paid €35 million (S$54.5 million).
Renato Sanches is 18 and has just two Portugal caps, but the midfielder is so highly-rated that he is Manchester United's top transfer target. But he signed for Bayern Munich, who paid €35 million (S$54.5 million). PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Manchester United were no doubt feeling highly embarrassed yesterday, after Bayern Munich snapped up their top transfer target Renato Sanches, the highly-rated Portuguese midfielder, from Benfica.

In a shock announcement in the morning, the Bundesliga champions confirmed that they had signed the 18-year-old for an initial fee of €35 million (S$54.5 million). The fee could rise, depending on various add-ons.

He has signed a five-year deal after completing a medical examination.

Shortly after announcing the signing of Sanches, Bayern also confirmed that they had completed the transfer of Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels.

The Germany centre-back, who signed for Dortmund from Bayern in 2009, will join the Bavarian giants after the two clubs meet in the German Cup final on May 20.

That United have been beaten to the signing of Sanches will be a source of embarrassment for Ed Woodward, their executive vice-chairman. He had made the player his top transfer target after scouts spotted his potential.

The teenager, who was born in Lisbon to parents from Cape Verde, has had only one season of first-team football at Benfica, but is widely regarded as one of the best talents in Europe.

His strongest position is centre-midfield, where the Red Devils have struggled for consistency this season.

"FC Bayern have been watching Renato Sanches for a long period," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "We're pleased we've been able to sign him despite big-name international competition. Renato is dynamic, a good tackler and a technically skilled midfielder, who'll add even more strength to our team."

Sanches joined Benfica aged nine and has two Portugal caps, the first of which he earned against Bulgaria two months ago.

Hummels has signed a five-year contract with Bayern. The two clubs did not disclose a fee, but reports in Germany suggest that the Munich side have paid around €38 million for the World Cup-winning defender.

Rummenigge said: "Mats is one of the world's best centre-backs. He will increase the quality of our team even more."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Bayern swoop on Sanches, Hummels'. Print Edition | Subscribe