Manchester United have this morning been linked with an absolutely eye-watering deal for relatively unknown Portuguese prodigy Renato Sanches.
The 18 year old Benfica midfielder has been turning heads in Liga Nos this season, and reportedly Manchester United's scouting pool have decided that now is the time to strike due to possible interest from other big clubs in Europe.
The deal that has been suggested is at £60m, which is apparently where Benfica have set his buy-out clause, but it is believed that Manchester United are trying to arrange a similar type of payment plan to that which was agreed with AS Monaco for Anthony Martial. In fact, this deal seems very similar to the one that caused so much discussion back in August, only Renato Sanches is even lesser known to fans of the Old Trafford club.
So who the hell is Renato Sanches, and what is that price tag all about?
Name: Renato Junior Luiz Sanches
Age: 18 (18/8/1997)
A product of Benfica's youth academy, Renato Sanches has represented Portugal at U15, U16, U17, and U18 level. After making his professional debut for Benfica B at 17 years of age, he has since graduated to the first team and has scored twice in 11 appearances.
Strong, quick, and skillful, Renato Sanches has been likened to Yaya Toure for his ability to surge forward from midfield, and to Paul Pogba for his eye for the spectacular. He has impressive confidence for someone his age and is known for involving himself with everything while on the pitch.
By no means the finished product, but incredibly exciting, he has shown flashes of extraordinary talent in such an important position, and looks far older than his passport would suggest.
Why United Want Him
Despite the signings of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin to play in midfield, United still need another player (or two) as can be seen by the consistent use of Marouane Fellaini in a deep central role. Carrick and Schweinsteiger are aging, but their influence could have a very positive impact on the development of Sanches, but were he to sign for the club, he would likely be introduced to first team football immediately much like Anthony Martial.
United's squad is shockingly light in numbers, and it seems clear that the club seem focused on chasing big names, as well as young players with the potential to become big names.
Having only made the breakthrough just before Christmas, it seems crazy to think that Benfica have slapped a £60m price tag on him, but that just shows how badly they want to keep him, and also that United have set a precedent with their recent transfer history.
Obligatory Highlights Video
Clearly talented, but very raw.
Is A Deal Going To Happen This Window?
Almost certainly not, as it seems as though the club are reluctant to sign players with so much uncertainty over the manager's position, but an approach in the summer seems very likely.
The fee will have to come down, but Benfica have given any interested club a starting point for negotiations with their high evaluation, but his is a name you can expect to see a lot of in the coming year.