Bayern Munich signed Renato Sanches from under the noses of Manchester United, according to the German club's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Bayern agreed a deal to sign the sought-after 19-year-old while United dithered because they were uncertain about Louis van Gaal's long-term future.
Sanches, 19, was an outstanding player for Portugal during their successful campaign at Euro 2016 after he joined Bayern in a deal worth €35m (£29.8m, $39.3m). Rummenigge explained that Bayern's decisiveness helped them to move ahead of United to sign Sanches from Benfica.
"We knew very well that Renato had a firm offer from Manchester United," Rummenigge said, according to Sport Bild.
He explained that the Bayern transfer developed on the eve of the club's Champions League semi-final game against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital. At the time, there was a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the future of Van Gaal at United and the Old Trafford club were, consequently, unable to conclude the deal in April.
"I heard that the United deal couldn't be completed, as they didn't know who their next manager would be," Rummenigge said of the United transfer target. "We invited Benfica's president and Sanches' agent to Madrid and that night we shook hands on the transfer."
Meanwhile, United's new boss Jose Mourinho recently claimed the Reds could have signed Sanches had he arrived as manager sooner. "I arrived late. I signed in May. If I had arrived earlier, I'd have fought for him," Mourinho explained, according to ESPN.
"Manchester United watched Renato many times, and maybe I did it even more. In so much time at home, I watched many Benfica and Portuguese league games."