There is a sense of deja vu around Manchester United transfer news this summer.
If supporters got sick and tired of United supposedly ‘edging’ closer to a move for Jadon Sancho in 2020, then history seems to be repeating itself in 2021. The Sancho saga has well and truly returned to our screens, via endless online articles, TV news bulletins and virtually every digital avenue you can think of.
The bottom line is that United are increasingly confident they can (finally) sign Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, with the Bundesliga club lowering its price tag for the England international from where it was 12 months ago.
So United fans can tentatively get excited about seeing Sancho in action for the Three Lions throughout this summer’s Euro 2020 championship.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s other players, however, may have an issue on their hands if and when Sancho does eventually arrive. United haven’t signed a ‘proper’ right-winger since Nani and Antonio Valencia more than a decade ago, so why must so many in the current squad be concerned about Sancho?
MEN Sport runs through those individuals, and why they have a problem, here…
Rashford and Sancho appear to be firm friends, judging from the snaps both post on social media of each other and the camaraderie built in the current England squad.
But there’s no doubt the Wythenshawe-born United academy product would have to step up his performance levels if Sancho joined him at Old Trafford. Rashford finished the season in poor form and it will be fascinating to see whether Gareth Southgate favours him, or Sancho, or neither in his starting 11 for the Euros.
There’s another argument that says Rashford may actually benefit from Sancho’s arrival, as it will keep him on the United left — where he tends to thrive.
Greenwood has arguably the most to lose by a possible Sancho transfer — but all depends on where the 19-year-old sees his future at United.
Greenwood emerged through the academy as a No.9, a natural goal-scorer, and that has often been apparent by how natural he appears to be when asked to finish off chances. But the bulk of his football in his two full senior campaigns has been on the right-wing; Sancho will surely make that position his own if he joins.
It’s therefore down to Greenwood to either accept the challenge on the right, or move centrally to push Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial for the No.9 jersey.
There isn’t much expectation that Amad will regularly start games for United, though his impressive cameo performances when called upon so far suggest the Ivorian is not far away.
He turns 19 next month and looks every inch a United player, so what effect would signing a more established 21-year-old right-winger have on Amad?
The logical answer is to say Amad should be Sancho’s understudy, playing here and there on the right-wing and coming off the bench. Again, that would mean Greenwood isn’t considered in the position, nor Rashford or anyone else. Solskjaer has an interesting conundrum where Amad is concerned.
Like Rashford, James’ better United performances have come off the left flank, but the Welshman may find himself the fall guy if Solskjaer’s attacking options become stacked next season.
Can the Norwegian possibly give enough game time to Cavani, Martial, Greenwood, Rashford, Sancho, Amad and James in the same campaign? That’s seven players for three positions, and that’s discounting Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and the glut of academy forwards who will all fancy their chances of featuring for United.
James could back up Rashford on the left, but his days on the right may be numbered if Sancho arrives.