Even by the high standards of what was a mind-boggling summer transfer window, the arrival of Renato Sanches at Swansea City was particularly remarkable, catching more than a few off guard.
The Euro 2016 champion and current ‘Golden Boy’ winner had been linked with a move to the Premier League for some time, although his destination was expected to be one of the Manchester clubs, Liverpool or Chelsea.
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Instead, the highly-rated 20-year-old will spend the entire 2017/18 campaign on loan at the Liberty Stadium, just a year after completing a £27.5 million (€35 million) move to German giants Bayern Munich from Benfica.
In the grander scheme of things, though, it is a move that makes sense for all parties involved.
Swansea will have on their hands one of the most sought-after talents in world football, Bayern will be safe in the knowledge that the Portugal international will be playing regular first-team football, whilst Sanches will get the game-time that he was denied at the Allianz Arena.
The majority of his debut season in Bavaria was spent on the sidelines, making just 17 appearances in the German Bundesliga, of which only six were starts and they yielded zero goals or assists.
At Swansea, however, Sanches can expect to play a pivotal role in the Welsh outfit’s quest to remain in the top flight.
Last season, the Swans avoided relegation to the Championship largely thanks to the influence of mercurial playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored nine goals and created a further 13 to help Paul Clement’s side finish seven points above the drop zone, before joining Everton in a £50 million deal last month.
Whilst Sanches is not a like-for-like replacement for the Iceland international, he undoubtedly has the potential to be the star at the Liberty Stadium.
The physicality of the Premier League is unlikely to be an issue for the energetic box-to-box midfielder, whose imposing physique should see him win his fair share of battles in the middle of the park and help Swansea dominate the midfield area against some of their direct rivals.
Despite his failure to find the back of the net for Bayern, the Portuguese youngster is never afraid to try his luck from distance and, as Academica can testify, is more than capable of producing a spectacular long-range effort.
Whilst his passing can sometimes be a bit too erratic for a player of his quality, Sanches is likely to have one or two of Leon Britton, Tom Carroll, Ki Sung-Yeung, Roque Mesa, Sam Clucas or Leroy Fer providing a solid central base, allowing the youngster to express himself and hurt the opposition in the final third of the pitch.
Swansea have recruited well in attacking areas this summer, re-enforcing their forward line with the loan signing of Tammy Abraham and bringing fan favourite Wilfried Bony back to the Liberty Stadium.
It is the arrival of Sanches, however, that has gotten the Welsh outfit’s supporters’ pulses racing, with many pundits heralding the former Benfica man as the Premier League’s best summer signing.
Whilst it is highly unlikely that the 20-year-old will extend his stay at the Liberty Stadium beyond this campaign, the 2017/18 season will be a monumental one for both player and club.
Should he live up to the hype and help Swansea beat the drop, then Sanches could expect to turn at Allianz Arena with more regularity next season, whilst Clement could look forward to another year in the top flight.
The Portuguese international will most likely make his Swans debut on Saturday against Newcastle United.