Sanches set for Newcastle chance
Paul Clement is set to pitch Renato Sanches straight into action against Newcastle United after revealing the midfielder turned down a host of top clubs to join Swansea City.
Sanches will touch down in Wales tonight and train with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday after joining the Swans on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.
And Clement is relishing the prospect of seeing the Portuguese international wearing Swans colours.
“I think if you look at Renato coming here, it’s a win for us, it’s a win for Bayern and it’s a win for the player,” said the Swans boss.
“He has played for one big club, Benfica, and then moved to another big club, a massive club, in Bayern.
“He didn’t play as much as they would have liked last season.
“There were lots of big clubs around Europe interested in him this summer, some of them right up until the last moments of the transfer window.
“He could have gone to one of those clubs and ended up in a similar situation to last season, where he only played in 40 or 50 per cent of games.
“But all parties want him to play more than that, and in the end we all came to the decision that it would good for him to come here.”
Clement reckons Sanches’s willingness to try his luck with the Swans is a sign of the 20-year-old’s desire to make progress in his career.
“It says a lot about him,” he added.
“He could easily have been swayed by one of the big clubs who were interested, but I think we all felt that he needed to play regular football in a very competitive league.
“It’s going to be a brilliant learning experience for him, and I have no doubts about his focus.
“He has been around top players long enough – Cristiano Ronaldo is an obvious one – to know what sacrifices you need to make to ensure you are in tip-top shape for games.
“I am very confident in Renato. I believe in him as a player and I want to give him opportunities.”
Clement has given no guarantees to Bayern about how much game-time Sanches will get during his year-long stint as a Swan.
But he is confident the new man will prove he is worth a regular spot, with Sanches likely to get a first chance to impress – whether it is off the bench or from the start – against Newcastle.
“He will have two training sessions with us before the game,” Clement said.
“We will check on him when he arrives, but he played 70 minutes the other night for his country and I have no reason to believe that there are any problems.
“He was always in good shape when I worked with him at Bayern and I anticipate him being involved on Sunday.”
Clement admits the Swans’ challenge is to help Sanches produce the kind of displays which made him a key player in Portugal’s Euro 2016 success.
“Renato is still young and is a foreign player coming into a new league so we should not put too much pressure on him,” Clement said.
“But at the same time, if you saw him play at the Euros, you could see his technical quality, his physical quality and his personality.
“He was only 18 then but was part of the team that won the competition.
“He has to rediscover that confidence. If he does that, he can make a big contribution here and help us a lot.”