‘NEXT AP­PEAR­ANCE’

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

EPA PIC

Sevilla mid­fielder Joaquin Cor­rea (left) es­capes from de­fender Ig­na­cio Ca­ma­cho of Malaga dur­ing their La Liga match on Mon­day. Malaga won 4-2.

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