Portugal’s Renato Sanches is the latest central midfielder to be linked with Arsenal, following Yves Bissouma, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Manuel Locatelli amongst others.
Sanches certainly splits opinion.
He burst onto the scene at Euro 2016. Aged just 18, he became him the youngest Portuguese to play in an international tournament as well as the youngest player to win a UEFA Euro final.
Sanches scored one goal during the competition and won the Young Player of the Tournament as Portugal captured the title for the first time in their history.
His performances for his country led Bayern Munich to do a deal which could have been worth up to €80 million.
It was always huge money for a player that had barely a season of senior football under his belt. And he struggled.
Four seasons at Bayern Munich saw him hardly play for the Bundesliga giants, and a less than impressive spell on loan with Swansea will stick in most fans heads.
Fast forward to the current Euro’s and he was one of Portugal’s best players prior to them being knocked out.
This led a lot of fans to make the joke that “Sanches hibernates between Euro’s”, commenting that his club form in the 5 years between the two competitions has been less than impressive in comparison to that of his Portugal form.
Others came out in his defence, pointing out that he was not a very different player to that who ended up playing 12 league games for Swansea; and that he was an integral part of the Lille side that won Ligue 1 last season.
But whilst he was part of that success, he was perhaps not as key as some are making out – just 14 league starts as he was in and out of the team with injury and form.
In fact since joining Lille 2 seasons ago, Sanches has started just 30 league games.
It is not the sparkling record to make you think he has now arrived as a player, fulfilling that potential he showed 5 years ago.
So if Arsenal signed Sanches, which version of the player would they be getting?
The Portugal star that has impressed across to European Championships? The Bayern Munich huge money signing that flopped on loan at Swansea? Or the middle of the road midfielder that has been in and out of the Lille team?
I have always kept on eye on Sanches since those early performances, and whilst I like him I am not sure he would solve Arsenal’s midfield problems.
At this stage in his career, it would be a huge risk for Arsenal to sign him as the first choice midfielder alongside Thomas Partey.
His place in the pecking order should probably be one below that – with Partey partnering someone else and Sanches being back-up.
But that is a position that Lokonga is coming in at, with Mo Elneny then providing the 4th choice midfield option.
I am just not sure Sanches is the man to be a week in, week out regular starter as Mikel Arteta rebuilds the team.
I am happy to be proved wrong, however.
No your spot on.Bissouma is the one.What the hell are Arsenal playing at? Prem ready.Boyhood gooner.Reasonable 3nough price considering his skill set.