for Javi Martinez, it seems only a matter of time before Sanches takes top spot and that moment after being eliminated from the Champions League and if their bad form continues into their final three matches then Fran Escriba’s could come as soon as this weekend when Bayern Munich take on Darmstadt 98.
According to German newspaper Bild, one clause will see Benfica earn £4 million if he makes 25 appearances this season.
After coming off the bench against Wolfsburg, he now stands on 24.
Sanches, who may not have played as much as he expected to when making the move to the Allianz Arena, has made only five starts in the Bundesliga but has been used as a substitute a further 11 times.
He has also played twice in the DFB-Pokal and made six Champions League appearances.
It means just one more game would be enough to see him overtake Villarreal could yet take advantage.
Villarreal, though, must face Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Martinez, who joined from Athletic Bilbao 2012.
He would also overtake Mario Gotze, who cost Bayern Munich around £32 million to sign from Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and Arturo Vidal, who was signed from Juventus for the same amount two years later.
Having sealed the Bundesliga title with a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg last weekend, Carlo Ancelotti is expected to rotate his side in the upcoming fixtures against Darmstadt, RB Leipzig and Freiburg.
That essentially means Benfica can start preparing for a welcome windfall ahead of the summer transfer window. Daily Mail Saturday before their potentially winnable games against Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia. Reuters
Sevilla midfielder Joaquin Correa (left) escapes from defender Ignacio Camacho of Malaga during their La Liga match on Monday. Malaga won 4-2.