Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was reportedly responsible for the club calling off their pursuit of Portugal international Renato Sanches. The 18-year-old midfielder was expected to join the Old Trafford club this summer, but has instead signed for German giants Bayern Munich.
Initially, it was thought Bayern had simply beaten United in the race for the signature of the sought-after youngster. But according to The Telegraph, United actually ended their interest in Sanches in February at the request of Van Gaal. The news is said to be a clear indication that the Red Devils are keen to retain the services of the Dutchman, even though they are expected to miss out on Champions League football next season.
United had scouted Sanches extensively and had even held advanced talks with Benfica and the player's agent, Jorge Mendes. However, Van Gaal is said to have baulked at the asking price of €35m (£27.8m, $39.8m), plus bonuses, and has instead instructed the club to pursue other midfield targets.
Meanwhile, a source in the Sanches camp suggested the lack of clarity over Van Gaal's future at United also led to the collapse of any potential deal. "The problem with United at the moment is indecision," the source explained. "They don't do the steps to get what they want. They leave it indefinitely and at some point lose everything."
United are thought to be unlikely to have allowed Van Gaal to veto the potential transfer, if – as has been widely speculated – they opt to replace the Dutchman with Jose Mourinho in the summer.