Speaking to the press ahead of a big preseason game against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac ended all speculation over the future of Renato Sanches, declaring that he would stay at the club and get chances next season. Sanches was heavily linked with a move away from the club this summer, reportedly due to a lack of playing time in Bavaria.
Now, it seems that the saga has been settled for at least another year. Here’s what Kovac said on the matter [via Bild]:
We’ve told Renato that we’d like him to stay. He’s obviously been considering his options after last season, but we explained the reasons behind his limited game time and he understood them. He sees his future with us.
That does not, however, mean Bayern will not buy another midfielder. As the coach went on to explain:
Renato staying doesn’t mean we don’t need players. Renato does not play on the 6, he is more like an 8, or a 10. As a coach, I have to think of the worst case (worst case). That’s why we need a good squad with quality. If we see in this position, or in the midfield, need and quality, we will strive for it.
The comments likely tie into Bayern’s rumored pursuit of Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca, who is a proper #6 and the alternative to Rodri Hernandez, who went to Manchester City. Why does Bayern need such a midfielder? Well, in the same press conference, Kovac was nothing but praise for Thiago Alcantara, who is currently the only deep-lying-playmaker on the squad. Javi Martinez is a #6, he’s more of a midfield destroyer and doesn’t fit the same profile — hence, Bayern only have one player for that extremely important role.
It’s understandable that, given the Spaniard’s proclivity towards injury, that the coach wants at least one player who can be an backup in that role. Hopefully, Kovac gets at least one of his requests this summer, because relying on Thiago staying fit isn’t a safe strategy.