We ‘signed’ Renato Sanches for Arsenal in January with remarkable results

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Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Renato Sanches in January, with the midfielder rumoured to be preparing to leave Lille in this upcoming transfer window.

Sanches played a pivotal role in Lille’s incredible Ligue 1 title success last season as they beat Paris Saint-Germain to the league title, and Arsenal were reportedly interested in the Portugal international last summer.

Sanches has admitted he was close to swapping Lille for Barcelona in the summer transfer window summer, and the former Bayern Munich player is now reportedly looking for a new challenge, with Arsenal one of the clubs who could be interested.

“Who is interested in me? Maybe Milan and Arsenal are interested, but I don’t know,” Sanches told L’Equipe, via MilanNews.

Sanches has already experienced the Premier League during a loan spell at Swansea City in 2017, but it wasn’t anything like what the midfielder would’ve expected, with the then 20-year-old enduring a torrid spell in south Wales.

Now a much more equipped and experienced player, a move to Arsenal could be welcomed by both parties, with Mikel Arteta wanting to strengthen his midfield and Sanches keen to prove himself in the Premier League.

So, how would Sanches perform at Arsenal if he were to move to north London in January? Let’s find out.

We ‘signed’ Renato Sanches for Arsenal in January 2022

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Sanches to join Arsenal in the upcoming January 2022 transfer window.

Let’s take a look at how Sanches performed throughout the second half of the 2021/22 season.



Renato Sanches' stats from the 2021/22 season with Arsenal
Renato Sanches’ stats from the 2021/22 season with Arsenal

Sanches made 21 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal after signing in January, with only one of those coming off the bench and 16 in the Premier League. Sanches quickly became a vital part of Arteta’s set-up, with the midfielder starting 15 of the 17 Premier League matches since his arrival.

With the Gunners in no European competitions and having exited the Carabao Cup, his only other appearances came in the FA Cup, where he played five matches in the competition.

In all competitions, Sanches scored two goals and registered five assists for Arsenal, with most of his appearances coming in the double-pivot of defensive midfielders alongside either Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey.

At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Arsenal XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.

This is what Arsenal’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2021/22 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:



Arsenal's best XI from the 2021/22 FM22 simulation
Arsenal’s best XI from the 2021/22 FM22 simulation

Full Arsenal best XI: Leno; Tomiyasu, Gabriel, White, Tierney; Odegaard, Xhaka, Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang.

As he only joined halfway through the season, Sanches didn’t feature in the Arsenal best XI for the 2021/22 campaign.

When compared to other midfielders in the Arsenal squad, Sanches’ contribution in the games he played stood out compared to Xhaka and Partey.



Renato Sanches' stats compared to other Arsenal midfielders in FM22
Renato Sanches’ stats compared to other Arsenal midfielders in FM22

Sanches, Xhaka and Partey all registered seven goal contributions throughout the season in all competitions, but impressively, Sanches also managed seven but in less games than both.

Odegaard played nearly double the amount of games as the other three midfielders at the club, with the Norwegian grabbing 14 goals and 13 assists in 45 games.

So, how did Arsenal perform in the league and FA Cup with Sanches in the squad?

Arsenal’s results from the 2021/22 simulation



Arsenal won the FA Cup in the simulated season
Arsenal won the FA Cup in the simulated season

After drawing 1-1 after normal and extra-time, Arsenal were victorious in the FA Cup, beating Manchester City 5-4 on penalties with Renato Sanches scoring one of the spot-kicks.

If Arsenal could replicate this victory, it would be the Gunners’ fifth FA Cup in the last nine years.

After an impressive run of form heading into the January transfer window, the signing of Sanches saw Arsenal maintain that form and finish fourth in the Premier League table, earning themselves a Champions League spot for the first time since the 2015/16 season.



Arsenal finished fourth in the 21/22 simulated season
Arsenal finished fourth in the 21/22 simulated season

Despite losing two out of their last three, Arsenal finished five points ahead of Man United in fifth after United failed to reclaim their top-four spot following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Overall, if Renato Sanches was to sign for Arsenal, his presence could ultimately strengthen Mikel Arteta’s midfield, allowing the Spaniard to rotate his midfield often to maintain fitness as the Gunners won the FA Cup trophy and finished fourth in the Premier League.

Would you like to see Arsenal sign Renato Sanches? Let us know in the comments!

Source by Football London

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