LOSC Lille and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches has revealed that he came close to signing for Barcelona in the summer only for an injury to play spoilsport.
Speaking in an interview with La Voix du Nord, as relayed by AS, LOSC Lille midfield mainstay has shed light on his failed summer transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona.
Since arriving at Lille in 2019 after his failed stint in Bayern Munich, the Portuguese international has steadily regained his confidence and grown in stature. Sanches played a key role in Les Dogues winning the Ligue 1 title and put on some impressive showings in the UEFA Euro 2020 during A Selecao’s short-lived run in the competition.
Sanches’ return to the top attracted serious interest from elite clubs across Europe. Liverpool and Barcelona were amongst those linked heavily with his services during the summer transfer window.
Now, the midfielder himself has revealed that he came very close to completing a move to Barcelona. Sanches claimed that there had been an agreement between the Catalan giants and reigning Ligue 1 champions over a transfer. However, an injury he sustained early in the season derailed his mooted switch to Camp Nou.
“If I hadn’t been injured, I would have signed for Barcelona this summer. Barça and Lille had already agreed, there was an agreement. At first it was a shock, then you put yourself in perspective. Football is about ups and downs and I’m used to it. I stopped thinking about the interested clubs and the rest to focus on recovery,” Sanches revealed in his interview.
Having stayed put in France, the 24-year-old has featured eight times across all competitions for Lille this season, registering a solitary assist. While his move to Barcelona may have been foiled in the summer, interest in him has not receded one bit.
Indeed, Barcelona continue to be linked with a move for the Portuguese international along with Liverpool. At the same time, there are a host of other clubs, such as AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid, that are looking at him.
While he may have struggled at a top club previously, Sanches is confident that he can thrive on the biggest stage now. “When I went to Bayern in 2016, I was not ready to play in a club like this, today I feel prepared,” he said. Whether Barcelona or any other elite clubs come calling for the 24-year-old in January or the summer remains to be seen.