Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the uncertainty around Louis van Gaal’s future allowed Bayern Munich to beat Manchester United to the signing of Renato Sanches.
United are understood to have watched Sanches turn out for Benfica on numerous occasions last season, before the midfielder joined Bayern Munich in May.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils could have completed a deal a week before Bayern stole in, but did not want to undermine Van Gaal, as they felt the transfer would have confirmed their intentions to replace the Dutchman with Jose Mourinho.
“We knew very well that Renato had a firm offer from Manchester United,” Bayern chief executive Rummenigge told Bild.
“I heard that the United deal couldn’t be completed, as they didn’t know who their next manager would be. We invited Benfica’s president and Sanches’ agent to Madrid and that night we shook hands on the transfer.”
Sanches went on to be part of the Portugal side which won Euro 2016 in the summer and Mourinho has admitted he wanted to sign the 19-year-old.
“I arrived late,” Mourinho said. “I signed in May, we started talking a week before, but completely out of the process. If I had arrived earlier, I’d fight for him.
“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, I got to know the boy better with time.
“He’s in a a big club, in a league where he’ll certainly be the champion. The club have players of very high level which belong to the structure, a little like Benfica.”