Barcelona fend off Man Utd, emerge as favourites for teenage starlet

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Manchester United are reportedly set to miss out on youngster Renato Sanches again as this time round he’s holding out for a move to Barcelona.

The 19-year-old burst onto the scene with Benfica and then at Euro 2016 with Portugal, which helped him earn the accolade of being 2016 Golden Boy. However, things haven’t gone to plan in recent times.

He made just 25 appearances in all competitions last season, rarely starting for Carlo Ancelotti, as he failed to register a single goal or assist in his time on the pitch as he struggled in his first season with Bayern Munich.

According to Diario Gol, his agent has held preliminary talks with Barcelona, who will be looking to strengthen the squad this summer to help new boss Ernesto Valverde bring back trophies next season.

While Bayern are said to prefer to loan him out as they evidently seen the longer-term picture, it doesn’t look as though that will be the solution. Instead, Barca could push to sign him outright as they look to strengthen the squad and replace ageing stalwarts.

The likes of Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets are certainly not getting any younger, and eventually they will drop out of the first team.

In that event, Barcelona will hope to have ready-made replacements at hand, and Sanches could now form an important part of their development.

As for United, it will be a blow for Jose Mourinho, but his midfield looks relatively strong at this stage albeit with tweaks needed, as he hopes to strengthen where possible and launch a sustained bid to win the Premier League and Champions League next season with other new arrivals widely expected.

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