The summer transfer window is now officially open but it might be a while yet before we see any new faces paraded around Old Trafford in Manchester United merchandise.
With the European Championship only one day away international football will instead take centre stage as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches a number of his top transfer targets in action for their respective nations over the coming weeks.
Players’ involvement in the international tournament will make it difficult to complete deals in the first half of the summer and various representatives have already made it clear their clients are expecting deals to take place ‘later’ in the window, with many deals effectively on hold while they are involved in their national team’s bubble.
The latest reports from Germany state a deal for Jadon Sancho is ‘getting closer’ although United sources remain tight-lipped on any imminent developments despite talks still continuing regarding his potential transfer. There is still a confidence that an acceptable financial package can be achieved, though few transfers are ever as straightforward as they appear to be on paper.
United do have somewhat of a boost in the summer window given Borussia Dortmund are willing to sell Sancho while Real Madrid are also open to auctioning Raphael Varane if he does not sign a new deal at the club, the only thing standing in their way are the figures behind such deals.
While the financial implications of the global health pandemic are a lot clearer this summer than they were a year ago, United will still be keen to get the best bang for their buck and will no doubt look to lower the initial cost of any arrivals by offering a good proportion of transfer fees in the guise of performance-related add-ons.
It is understandable why negotiations might take a while to truly develop given the complicated nature of the current financial climate, but that could be where swap-deals come into play.
Although they are a common staple for many video game-playing football fans trade deals still remain somewhat of a rare occurrence at an elite level, although they do seem logical when put down on paper.
United might well be scarred by the doomed swap which saw Alexis Sanchez move to Old Trafford in January 2018 and Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way to North London, but similar transactions could make some sense this summer if Solskjaer is to strengthen every area of his squad that needs urgently addressing.
Of all the players to include in such a deal Jesse Lingard is arguably the leading contender given that loan club West Ham are desperate to sign him and United are interested in Declan Rice.
It still remains unlikely David Moyes would sanction such a deal given he’d effectively be signing a cherry to go on top of a cake which no longer exists, but Lingard could well be a useful tool in perhaps lowering the costs of such a deal in the future.
Elsewhere there is some argument to suggest Paul Pogba could effectively be swapped for Varane given that the duo are both entering the final year of deals at their respective clubs. It is again fanciful, but not necessarily completely out of the question.
Last summer Tahith Chong was briefly tipped to join Borussia Dortmund on loan in a possible sweetener for Jadon Sancho’s arrival, while this summer loaning out Amad to the Bundesliga club in exchange for the England international could be another effective, albeit unlikely, transfer tactic. MEN Sport reported in March that Dortmund had lined up a move for Amad in the event they sold Sancho last summer.
Are there any players you’d like to see included in a swap-deal this summer? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.
A potential move for Pau Torres could also be helped by a swap-deal, with former Villarreal defender Eric Bailly a contender to return to his former club despite only recently signing a new contract at Old Trafford.
A trade deal could also be an effective way of solving the goalkeeper dilemma this summer with either David de Gea or Dean Henderson potentially available for such a proposal if the negotiating club can offer someone as equally talented in return.
Of course all the aforementioned transfers are hypothetical at this stage and there is no indication whatsoever from club sources that any are being considered, but they certainly provide food for thought as we enter the transfer window.
Even in an ideal world it seems unlikely United’s budget will be able to cover strengthening every area of the pitch which needs addressing this summer, although they might be able to navigate such an issue by getting creative with swap-deals.