Bayern Munich’s non-World Cup participating players have returned to preseason training this week as they begin their bid to retain the Bundesliga trophy. It’s an exciting time for the Bavarian club, as Niko Kovac kick-starts a new phase for the German giants. For the players, a new manager at the helm offers them a new opportunity to impress. There may be no one with a stronger need for a fresh start than forgotten man Renato Sanches.
Having disappointed on loan at Swansea City last year, where injuries cost him the second half of the season while his temporary club endured the pain of relegation, Sanches now must rescue his Bayern career from the spiralling direction it is currently heading. While that won’t be an easy feat, considering the abundance of talent he must compete with in midfield, the young Portuguese is up for the challenge.
New coach Niko Kovac has pledged to do his best to help the struggling star (AZ):
I’ll try to make him feel good here. When someone feels good, it’s much easier to perform well. He has skills that you don’t see every day in the Bundesliga; that’s why FC Bayern signed him.
Besides Sanches’s innate quality, however, Kovac also expects the young man to work for his place:
I want him to take on the battle, to be so motivated, to go all out from the first minute on. Then I’ll be convinced that he can perform at the level we expect of him and that he expects of himself.
Sanches has come hungry for the first few sessions of an intense training schedule, but actions speak louder than words. If Sanches is to somehow write up a new narrative of his Bayern story, he’s going to need to show it on the field when it matters. Until then, the signs of life he has shown are a relief for the Bayern faithful, as well as boardroom, considering the hefty €35million price tag it took to bring him to the Allianz Arena.