Christophe Galtier shouldn’t have too much trouble getting to know his latest recruit. In securing the services of Renato Sanches, PSG offered him a player he knows particularly well having had him under his belt for two seasons at Lille. The former Mastiffs coach had also been able to revive the Portugal international after his failure at Bayern Munich. This is a promising first element in the prospect of seeing the 24-year-old midfielder make his mark in the capital. There are others.
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A profile is missing
This is undoubtedly one of the first qualities that jump out at Renato Sanches: his ability to gain yards with the ball at his feet. An asset that was lacking in the Parisian squad in general, and in midfield in particular. The Portuguese international knows how to take advantage of his physical power and his sense of dribbling to eliminate the opponent in the middle of the field and project himself in the last third of the opposing field. Where other Parisian midfielders are more focused on the passing game, notably Marco Verratti and debutant Vitinha, Renato Sanches offers this opportunity to make a difference in a different way. His profile is even more interesting for PSG.
Paris have often suffered from not having a real striker in their midfield. This is one of Verratti’s main flaws. It was a quality that was expected from Leandro Paredes, but the Argentine has rarely shown it, or from Idrissa Gueye, but the Senegalese has not often had the leisure to go on the attack. Renato Sanches not only has this ability to score goals from long distance, but also this boldness that allows him to seize his opportunity without hesitation. In a team where there is no lack of offensive talents and they monopolize the attention of the opponent, the Portuguese will have this argument to argue.
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A welcome tactical flexibility
- Double pivot in the 3-4-1-2
This is Christophe Galtier’s basic outline of the warm-up matches and the Champions Trophy. Renato Sanches can easily fit into the double pivot in midfield, in a central role that he particularly likes. More torchbearer than recuperator, he seems complementary to other Parisian circles, in particular Verratti who can evolve further back and thus offer him the necessary cover to allow him to project forward. But also Vitinha, able to play in various registers although he also likes to carry the surplus in attack.
The option exists even if it seems difficult to consider in a team brought to play with three offensive elements, Kylian Mbappé, Leo Messi and Neymar. But the prospect of swelling the midfield by adding a third element can make sense, from the kick-off depending on the opposition or during the match depending on the scenario of the encounter. Renato Sanches would form a competitive trio with Verratti and Vitinha, both in recovery and in the use of the ball, with a technical level particularly interesting for the entire Parisian environment.
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- Right winger in a 3-4-3
That role would not be far removed from what Galtier had routinely entrusted to Renato Sanches at Lille, a right midfielder in a 4-4-2. This is an option to consider especially if one of the three stars of the Parisian attack were to default, even if it requires modifying an offensive animation that was rather articulated around a leader and two axial attackers in the early games. The Portuguese in particular offers the possibility of evolving into an overflowing wing register that is lacking in the Parisian offensive sector.
Reliability in question
Renato Sanches offers PSG interesting prospects, but not all guarantees. Rather irregular in his level of performance, he was mostly burdened by numerous injuries, mainly muscular. The Portugal international has never topped the mark of 24 league appearances during his three seasons at Lille. His ability to stay healthy will largely determine his chances of success in Paris. Without a doubt, this is the step he needs to take to give a new dimension to his career.
But PSG is not taking too much risk so far. With Renato Sanches, he has secured the services of a still young player with significant room for improvement, for a relatively small amount given the Portuguese’s potential. A bet all the more interesting as the former Bayern player, already endowed with solid experience in the Champions League (28 games), arrives in favorable conditions with two men who know him well, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos. It will be up to him to take advantage of this to try to impose himself on the capital.
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