Back on March 20th, Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches gave an update on how he feels about his status on the squad. Not surprisingly, Sanches was perplexed and unhappy about his lack of opportunity.
A few weeks later, the situation has not improved.
After yesterday’s exasperating 5-4 win in the DFB-Pokal over Heidenheim, Sanches voiced his frustration about his inability to break into the lineup to SportBild.
Of course I’d like to play more. I’m waiting for my chance. I’ll keep working and wait for a start. The coach doesn’t explain to me why I don’t play. Of course it’s difficult. But that’s football. Sometimes things change. I’m waiting for my chance, but it’s not my decision.
Sanches has not appeared in a Bundesliga game since March 9th, when he had a 16 minute cameo as a substitute against Wolfsburg. Sanches was also used as a sub against Liverpool for 13 minutes on March 13th, but his impact on the pitch and his performance on the training ground have apparently not been enough to warrant more playing time in the eyes of Niko Kovac.
Overall, Sanches has played in 21 games where he has amassed 717 minutes, tallying one goal and three assists. Sanches, however, ended on an upbeat note yesterday, despite his frustration about his lack of playing time.
The season is not over yet. We still have two months left and in two months everything is possible.
Sanches also made his displeasure known on Instagram as he liked a post by “munich.fanpage2” to his story that stated:
It’s unfair that you didn’t play today. You should leave for your own good.
The reality for Sanches is that he is currently Bayern’s fifth option among those players who man the “8” and “6” positions for Kovac heading into next season. Since Leon Goretzka, Corentin Tolisso, Thiago Alcantara, and Javi Martinez are the primary assets in those spots, it is hard to imagine Sanches breaking into that group anytime soon.
The presence of Thomas Muller and James Rodriguez has created a logjam at the “10” as well, where Goretzka, Thiago, or Tolisso could all conceivably be given minutes. That situation has further buried Sanches on the bench. In addition, the whispers of a potential move to the central midfield for Joshua Kimmich might make it even more difficult for Sanches to become a regular.
All of that does not even preclude the possibility that Bayern might add another central midfielder into the mix during the summer transfer window.
At some point soon, Bayern will have to address how it can justify keeping a 21-year-old with potential on the bench for yet another season. Despite his ability, Sanches is simply a victim of the circumstance that he is surrounded by better teammates. He is at a point where he needs to play regularly for the sake of his own development.
After a disastrous loan stint at Swansea City and minimal playing time this season, Sanches will need to find a buyer who still believes in his potential yet can also satisfy Bayern’s inevitable desire to at least break even on the €35m the club spent to acquire Sanches from Benfica in the first place.
Since an opportunity for consistent playing time likely won’t emerge in Bavaria, Bayern should work with Sanches to find a good spot for him where he can get regular minutes on a team in a top European league.