Towards the end of the January transfer window, Manchester United reportedly made a formal attempt to sign Renato Sanches from Benfica. The Red Devils had lodged a bid in the region of €40m for the Portuguese midfielder, but it was rebuffed.
The 18-year-old is a highly talented midfielder, and has caught the attention of several heavyweight European clubs, including the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, Real Madrid will make a concrete effort to sign the Portuguese in the summer. Los Blancos scouts have kept a close eye on him, and are impressed with his developments. The La Liga club now intends to bring the youngster to Santiago Bernabeu next summer.
The newspaper say that Benfica are aware of the interests from the heavyweight European clubs for Sanches and have raised his release clause on a few occasions in recent times.
First, the Portuguese club have increased his release clause from €30m to €45m, and following an interest from Madrid, they have further increased it to the north of €80m.
AS believe that Benfica would accept a fee over €60m for Renato which would make him the most expensive player to be transferred in the history of Portuguese football.
Manchester United are likely to renew their interest in Sanches, who has a contract at Benfica till 2021. Jorge Mendes is the agent of the player, and he has a close connection with Real Madrid (agent of several Real Madrid players including Ronaldo).
Madrid therefore have a good chance to sign the player, but at the same time, Mendes also holds a good relationship with Manchester United as well. We may have a fascinating transfer duel on our hands next summer.