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Renato Sanches still finding his way at OSC Lille

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How is the 22-year-old adjusting to the French life? His new coach stresses he can now work on his game without the pressure.

AFC Ajax v Lille OSC: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

The somewhat tragic story of Renato Sanches has hit merely a new chapter, not an ending, as so many prognosticated when he transferred out of Bayern Munich and to Lille OSC. His career at the Hauts-de-France club has gotten off to an inauspicious start: he has gone the full 90’ just once in four matches and has zero goals/assists, but Sanches still has the full backing of head coach Gerard Lopez, who had this to say (AZ):

We’re trying to build him up. He was at home in Benfica. He was at home with the Portuguese national team. When he went to Bayern, he was lost.

Lopez is apparently taking a holistic approach to Renato’s development, which might be exactly what the youngster needs. Sanches never got into a rhythm at Bayern, despite showing some glimpses of that tantalizing talent that made him a €40 million buy in 2016. This might be due to being a bit of a fish out of water, moving from his hometown club Benfica to one of the biggest clubs in the world in a country in which he does not speak the language.

Bayern is indeed a great club, but perhaps not the club for young players who do not speak German.

This concern of Lopez’s has been shared before, and Renato is just the latest iteration of it. Being loaned out for a year out of his brief career here probably also did not help make Renato feel at home either. Sanches’ new coach is providing a place where he can train and improve without the pressure. Lopez said,

[Sanches] is a player who needs time. There is no pressure on him with us. When I hear that Renato Sanches had a match game, then I have to laugh, because it’s the same people who a year from now will say that Renato Sanches is great.

You have to be patient and careful with him. Renato is working a lot. I don’t want all the pressure to weigh him down. He has to adapt, regain his tempo. He doesn’t have to be the team’s savior just because his name is Renato Sanches.

Has Sanches finally found a club where he can bounce back? It remains to be seen, but being Lille’s most expensive transfer ever, he will certainly have the attention that he needs.