How the Renato Sanches move will aid Lille in France and Europe

LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 19: Renato Sanches of Bayern Munchen celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SL Benfica and FC Bayern Munchen at Estadio da Luz on September 19, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 19: Renato Sanches of Bayern Munchen celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SL Benfica and FC Bayern Munchen at Estadio da Luz on September 19, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images) /

One clubs hopeless case is another clubs diamond in the rough.

While paraphrased of course, its more applicable for Bayern München and Lille this way. When München paid €35m for Renato Sanches from Benfica just four years ago, he was seen as a young and impactful midfield and wing option; many things can change in four years.

Capable offensively and defensively, the impact of Renato Sanches was thought to be felt quickly and forcefully. Four years later, four bosses, a loan, injuries and a firm spot seated with Bayern’s reserves has seen Sanches shipped away to Northern France permanently. Worse still, his move comes at a €15m loss for Die Roten whom were only capable of securing a reported €20m for the players transfer.

One clubs €15m loss is another clubs record signing. Lille were more than happy to sign Renato Sanches after moving Nicolas Pépé to Arsenal earlier in the transfer window. His €20m transfer fee is roughly a quarter of the sum they will get from Arsenal for Pepe’s transfer alone. Furthermore, the €83m in additions Lille made during the entire summer is paid for almost entirely by Pépé’s €80m fee alone.

None of this includes the money Lille receives from its qualification  for UCL play, or its transfer margin in which they’ve returned approximately €150m against €83m spent. Selling players like Pépé, Rafael Leão to AC Milan, Thiago Mendes to Lyon and Anwar El Ghazi to Aston Villa make for intelligent maneuvering by Boss Christophe Galtier. His leadership should see the club maintain its performance with new exciting youth like Sanches, fellow midfielder Yusuf Yazici, alongside center-forwards Victor Osimhen, and American Timothy Weah.

It all adds up to Lille OSC being in perfect position to continue adding pieces in January, or even next summer with an even greater war chest at the clubs disposal. A great financial position, trust and patience with your manager to coach up greet young talent is a formidable position to have your club in for sure but it is desirable for incoming players as well. Especially incoming players whose potential has been eclipsed by inconsistent coaching from four different bosses in four years since his departure from Benfica.

Renato Sanches needs Christophe Galtier to believe in him, to coach him up and allow for his passion, exuberance and creativity to again shine on the pitch. Some clubs have a very exact way of playing, and that can smother players whose talents may lie more so in feeling the game more organically, as opposed to a consciously tactical approach dictated by a historical team concept.

Think teams like Barcelona, Bayern München and any team coached by Maurizio Sarri for more than one year. While certain players can thrive in these structures like Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller or Jorginho, some fall by the wayside as their talent is forgotten for lack of conformation.

In the words of Otis Redding, sometimes you’ve got to “try a little tenderness”, and tact can go a long way in endearing players to a team, style or system. Christophe Galtier has those abilities in great supply and will need to utilize them in revitalizing Renato Sanches.

If Christophe Galtier can re-inspire Renato Sanches, Lille will likely find themselves domestically behind only PSG for the Ligue 1 title and domestic glories. His play in the midfield or out wide can create mismatches for he and his teammates with his scoring, passing, visionary and defensive capabilities on the pitch. His confidence is key, and putting him in the proper positions early on could reignite the fire that Bayern München saw enough of to transfer for Sanches just four years ago.

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Integrating Sanches, Yusuf Yazici, Victor Osimhen, and Timothy Weah into the clubs first team and rotation will require the aforementioned tenderness and tact absolutely; Galtier’s handling of Pépé’s prolonged transfer saga should comfort any supporters of “Les Dogues” to mix the new talent in with Lille’s known names and faces. In Europe, his task may be no less difficult.

In Group H with Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia, Lille themselves may well be considered the groups easiest games by the other clubs. With that said, progressing through would be stunning but not entirely impossible. Ajax were last years sweethearts and will be certain to underestimate no team themselves while Europa League winners Chelsea with new boss Frank Lampard are to this point, still an unknown entity. Valencia is never an easy out no matter the competition, and the ties against them in the Champions League are no exception. Christophe Galtier has his work cut out for him but he’s got the young talent and exuberance to manage it.

Renato Sanches could be a massive piece to Lille cracking Group H if they are to do so, and could be the player whose form decides Lille’s domestic trajectory as well. A huge burden for any player, but perhaps less for one who has gone through four disappointing years at an internationally major club after such phenomenal expectations failed to materialize for him. This perspective he may have is only one of the possible silver linings from his time in Germany.

Those failures at Bayern München, relatively short-term, have ultimately freed Renato Sanches to play as himself once more. Ironically, they may ultimately prove to be to his long-term benefit and appreciation; one mans failure can be that same mans chance for redemption, after all.