Swansea sign Bayern midfielder Renato Sanches on season-long loan
Highly rated Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches has moved to Swansea City on a season-long loan. The Premier League club have not secured an option to buy the midfielder, but have agreed to pay a loan fee of €8.5 million.
Sanches, 19, won the 2016 Golden Boy award and was voted best young player at Euro 2016 but has struggled to meet expectations at Bayern since his move from Benfica last summer when Bayern successfully beat off competition from Manchester United for his signature.
The Portugal international said he would like to join AC Milan "if the opportunity arose" in a bid to secure more playing time but when a deal did not materialise, he chose to continue his career in the Premier League.
Sanches only started six Bundesliga games last season, failing to score or provide an assist in 25 appearances in all competitions, while completing 90 minutes on just a single occasion.
"We're delighted we've been able to conclude the load deal with Swansea City. Our goal was for Renato to gain regular match practice at club level in a strong league such as the Premier League," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
"We remain convinced he has the potential to become an important player for FC Bayern in the future. For this reason the agreement states that the player will return to FC Bayern on 1 July 2018 with no option to make the transfer permanent."
The move means a reunion with Paul Clement, who worked with Sanches during his first six months in Bavaria as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant manager, before leaving to successfully keep the Welsh side in the Premier League.
Clement hailed Sanches as "one of Europe's elite young talents" as he welcomed him to his squad.
"I'm delighted to secure his services,'' Clement told Swansea's website. "He is a player I know well having worked with him for six months at Bayern Munich before my own move to Swansea.
"He is one of Europe's elite young talents who has already achieved a lot for his age, including winning Euro 2016 with Portugal.
"Having moved from Benfica to Bayern Munich, he has not played as much as he would have liked. But this move to Swansea and the Premier League will provide him with a real positive development experience.
"As a player he is a dynamic, powerful central midfielder who I believe has all the attributes to suit the Premier League.''
Sanches had also been linked with a move to clubs including AC Milan, Roma, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. However, all those clubs wanted the option to secure a permanent deal at the end of any loan spell.
"We wanted Renato Sanches to go to a club where he could play at a high level," Rummenigge told German sport magazine Kicker. "Renato has to play continuously for a year, which is not guaranteed at the moment in the squad."
Swansea are also expected to complete the £12m signing of their former striker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City.
Bony -- who left Swansea for City in January 2015 for £28m -- is due to undergo a medical and is a direct replacement for Fernando Llorente, who is set to join Tottenham.
Swansea signed Bony from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013 for a then-club record fee of £12m. He proved a huge hit at the Liberty Stadium with 34 goals in 70 appearances and was the Premier League's top goal scorer in the calendar year of 2014.
But he started only 15 league games in two and a half years at the Etihad Stadium and spent last season on loan at Stoke. The 28-year-old had a frustrating time with the Potters, making just 11 appearances and not one after Stoke's 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on Dec. 27.
Shrewsbury also announced that winger Dan James has returned to Swansea after his loan spell was terminated by mutual consent.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.