MANCHESTER, England – Portugal winger Renato Sanches left Bayern Munich to join Swansea on loan Thursday in the most improbable move on the final day of Europe’s transfer window, when Premier League teams Liverpool and Tottenham also made high-profile signings.
The 20-year-old Sanches was being talked about as Portugal’s natural heir to Cristiano Ronaldo after helping his national team to last year’s European Championship title, where he won the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Back then, the dreadlocked winger also joined Bayern on one of the richest contracts in Bundesliga history, for a transfer fee that could climb to about $90 million.
Now, Sanches will be playing for a Welsh team that might be a relegation contender in the Premier League this season. It is a remarkable coup for Swansea, one that was likely sealed by coach Paul Clement’s connections to Bayern.
Clement was assistant coach at Bayern during the first half of last season before taking over at Swansea.
Sanches failed to establish himself in his first season at Bayern, making 26 appearances in all competitions.
In what was building up to be a busy day of business in the Premier League, England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal after six years to join Liverpool for 35 million pounds ($45 million).
Tottenham also strengthened its squad ahead of its latest Champions League campaign, bringing in Ivory Coast right back Serge Aurier from Paris-Saint-Germain. British media reported the fee for Aurier was about 23 million pounds.
The 24-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain allowed his Arsenal contract to enter its final season after rejecting offers of a new deal, and had been linked with a move across London to Chelsea.
“I know my choice might come as a surprise to many,” he said in a personal statement on Twitter, “… but I feel that this move is right for the next stage in my ongoing development.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain underwent a medical examination at England’s training base while on international duty, and signed him on a “long-term” deal with Liverpool. Oxlade-Chamberlain was part of the Arsenal team that was thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool on Sunday, his 132nd and last game with the London club.
He is leaving a team that will be playing in the Europa League this season to join a side that is back in the Champions League and started the Premier League by winning seven points from a possible nine.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s departure from Arsenal is a further setback for manager Arsene Wenger, who has seen his side lose two of its opening three league matches.
At Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to play as a midfielder — he was mostly used at wing back last season — but faces competition for starts with Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and potentially Philippe Coutinho.
Aurier’s transfer to Tottenham was held up by complications regarding the defender’s work permit because he was sentenced to two months in prison last year for resisting arrest after leaving a Paris nightclub.
Aurier appealed against the sentence and never went to prison. PSG had to leave him out of its Champions League squad for a match against Arsenal in London last season because he was refused entry by British authorities because of the ongoing case.
The 24-year-old Aurier, who played 57 league games for PSG after joining from Toulouse initially on loan in 2014, is Tottenham’s second major defensive recruit after center back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax.
With Tottenham selling first-choice right back Kyle Walker to Manchester City during the offseason, Aurier will compete with Kieran Trippier for a starting spot.
The futures of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez are still to be finalized after months of speculation surrounding three of the Premier League’s top players. Algeria said Mahrez has left the national team to complete a transfer, without naming a club.