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 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich not looking to end Renato Sanches' Swansea loan

Jupp Heynckes has dismissed speculation that Bayern Munich are about to end Renato Sanches' disappointing loan spell at Swansea.

Sanches, 20, is spending the season on loan at Swansea, but has not finished on the winning side in nine appearances with the Premier League's bottom club.

After failing to make the squad for their last two league games, reports surfaced in the player's native Portugal that Bayern and Swansea were both keen to end their loan agreement prematurely.

However, speaking at a news conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga trip to Stuttgart, Heynckes said: "I have spoken to Hasan Salihamidzic [sporting director] in recent weeks and told him that we need to take care of our loan players -- [Serge] Gnabry at Hoffenheim and Sanches at Swansea.

"I expect he [Salihamidzic] and [Sanches] have telephoned, but we have not spoken at all about bringing him back to Bayern -- so I am surprised by this [speculation] somewhat."

Winner of the 2016 Golden Boy award and voted best young player at Euro 2016, Portugal international Sanches had also struggled to meet expectations at Bayern following his move last year from Benfica, when the German champions successfully beat off competition from Manchester United for his signature.

The midfielder only started six Bundesliga games last season under Carlo Ancelotti, failing to score or provide an assist in 25 appearances in all competitions.

Sanches' move to Swansea meant a reunion with Ancelotti's former Bayern assistant, Paul Clement, who worked with the midfielder during his first six months in Bavaria.

Heynckes added: "I haven't wasted any time thinking about it. We are very well catered for with many great players in midfield. Moreover, bear in mind too -- if we were to do this -- would Sanches get any playing time?

Renato Sanches has struggled during his loan spell at Swansea.

"With the rotation that I carry out every midfield player is involved -- that is extremely important at Bayern as they are all internationals. We do not have the same need for a midfielder like we do for another player in a different position."

Heynckes has not written off Sanches completely but hinted that he felt his rise to the top had come too quickly.

"I know all about Portuguese football from my time at Benfica and I know how Benfica develops younger players," he said. "I also followed Sanches' career a little even before Euro 2016 and knew that he had only played very few games at Benfica that season, only 15 or 16, but still managed to make the squad for the Euros -- before signing for Bayern.

"I have to say Renato is a huge talent, but talent is just the one thing. Talents also need the discipline to work daily on their game in order to get integrated and become a team player. Young players also need support and firm leadership -- with some strong words from time to time."

Swansea boss Clement echoed Heynckes' claims of a Sanches stay in Wales, saying: "I haven't had any specific communication with Bayern about Renato's current situation, but he's not going back.

"He's been out of the last two squads, which is obviously not a good situation for him.

"He's not very happy about it, but his reaction has been very good in training.

"He's very motivated and knows what he needs to do to break back not only into the 18, but into the team as well.

"Contractually I believe he's signed for us for the season, and there was no stipulation in there that he has to play a certain amount of games to stay for the full term. So he's a player here for the season.'']

Sanches, however, has been a huge disappointment at Swansea, failing to score or provide an assist in his 10 appearances.

He was also ridiculed for passing a ball straight into an advertising hoarding at Chelsea last month with no teammate anywhere near -- and has had only five minutes of first-team action since.

Clement added: "We need to get him back to what he is capable of but his confidence is clearly low.

"It was low when he came here and we hoped that it would have gone back up to a very good level.

"It's taken more time than we would have hoped, but he can't expect to keep getting picked if he's not performing at the level.

"But we will stay with him, keep showing belief in him and work with him behind the scenes on the training ground and in the video room.

"I know the skills I have to get the best out of young players and I believe in the skills he has. Hopefully we can work together for a good solution.''

Meanwhile, Heynckes confirmed Sven Ulreich is fit to return in goal after overcoming an adductor injury.

Academy coach Tom Starke has deputised in the previous two 1-0 wins over Frankfurt and Cologne but Ulreich will play against his former side Stuttgart at the weekend.

Heynckes did not rule out Arjen Robben returning for Wednesday's DFB Pokal round-of-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Robben has been battling to overcome a sciatic nerve problem and Sky Deutschland had reported he had played his last football of the year.

However, Heynckes said he was "surprised" by these reports.

"I have just spoken to Arjen and he is feeling relatively good," he added. "But he must be 100 percent and pain free to perform well. We will wait until Monday to see how he is."

Press Association contributed to this report.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.


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