While Bayern Munich were busy adding Douglas Costa, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bouna Sarr to their first-team squad on the final day of the transfer window, the academy quietly acquired Portugal U20 midfielder Tiago Dantas on loan from Benfica…
A diminutive string-pulling central midfielder, what else is there to know about the 19-year-old Lisbon native? bundesliga.com has the scoop…
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Portugal (U20 cap)
Born in Portugal's capital city Lisbon on Christmas Eve of 2000, Dantas shares a birthdate with 16th century explorer Vasco da Gama. His compatriot was the first European to reach India by sea, but the first step on Dantas's journey was significantly shorter, the young midfielder finding himself in the youth academy of local giants Benfica at the tender age of four. He hasn't looked back since.
Thirteen years later and after filling out some - although not too much: Dantas still stands at 5'7" tall - he was handed his debut for Benfica B in a 2-1 win over Leixoes in the Portuguese second tier. The following December, three days before his 18th birthday, Dantas made the step up to the full team, playing the final five minutes of a 2-2 draw at Vitoria Setubal in the Portuguese cup.
Former 1860 Munich and Borussia Dortmund star Julian Weigl was among those blocking Dantas's path to the first team on a more regular basis last season, but that didn't stop the youngster from bossing it for Benfica in the UEFA Youth League. With the No.10 on his back, Dantas scored four and assisted two more on the way to the final, where his side were edged 3-2 by Real Madrid.
Plays a bit like: Thiago Alcantara
With his low centre of gravity, quick turns and laser-sighted distribution, Dantas bears more than a passing resemblance to his namesake Thiago, who recently left Bayern for Liverpool after hoovering up seven Bundesligas, four DFB Cups and a UEFA Champions League for good measure.
Dantas has thus far operated in a slightly more advanced role than the Bayern legend - although the No.10 on Alcantara's Spain jersey is testament to the more attacking role he came up through the ranks in. Like Thiago, Tiago often plays the second assist - or the pass before the pass before the goal - and if he impresses for Bayern II he could find himself joining Costa et al in no time.
Watch: How Thiago ran the show for Bayern
Did you know?
Dantas is the second youngster to swap Benfica for Bayern in recent seasons after Renato Sanches, now of Lille. Should he progress from the youth ranks to the first team picture as quickly as some are predicting, Dantas would become the 26th Portuguese to play in the Bundesliga.
Three of Portugal's senior national team currently ply their trade in Germany's top-flight - Dortmund left-sider Raphael Guerreiro, Eintracht Frankfurt attacker Andre Silva and his strike partner who recently left the Commerzbank Arena for Schalke, Goncalo Paciencia.
Fernando Meira was a Bundesliga-winning centre-back with VfB Stuttgart in 2007 while Paulo Sousa won the Champions League with Dortmund in 1997. Who knows what heights Dantas might scale?
What they're saying
"I've known Bayern's coach [Hansi Flick]. for a long time and about six years ago we invited him for a lecture. There was also a tournament and he saw Tiago Dantas playing. Since then, he's been a fan and always asked about him." - Benfica head scout, Jose Boto
"Since the first time I saw you I never doubted you were different, that you have in you a lot of what defines the best players in the word. This is another step in a long career which is at the beginning. The future is in your feet and most of all your mind." - Dantas's agent, Diogo Correia Henriques, on Instagram
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