Manchester United’s transfer plans for the summer ahead are pretty clear, with a central defensive partner for Harry Maguire, a holding midfielder and a right-sided forward at the top of the agenda.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have gone as far as identifying their top targets, with Raphael Varane, Declan Rice and Jadon Sancho the players at the top of the shortlist for the three aforementioned positions.
Those three players would considerably upgrade the United squad, filling into what have been three problem positions for the club, and the path has been cleared for transfers to be completed.
In the case of Sancho, a deal has been on the cards for the past year and the former Manchester City youngster is keen on a move. All in all, it appears all the right boxes have been ticked.
It has been suggested that it may not be as simple as that though, with the Mail stating United have concerns of being ‘ripped off’ in the market amid their issues with record-breaking additions in the past.
The fact of the matter is, though, everyone knows United have money to spend and Borussia Dortmund know his value – so the fee is what it is and you can either take or leave it, with the risk of a rival strengthening themselves with their own move for Sancho if the latter is the route taken.
In regards to United’s transfer history, where mega-money has been splashed on players who have flattered to deceive at Old Trafford, it is strange to put Sancho in the same box.
As it stands, United’s five most expensive recruits in history have been Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria and Anthony Martial.
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In the case of Pogba, it’s true that he’s never quite found his best form consistently at the club but he’s still been an integral part of the side and, while some will argue that the jury is still out on Maguire, the 28-year-old has been a huge addition and now captains the side.
Lukaku was effective during his two-year stint at United but never truly fit into the club’s plans, while Di Maria was an undisputed flop and Martial arrived with a hefty price-tag but was a largely unknown quantity who is brilliant at times.
The biggest failure of those five players was undoubtedly Di Maria but any comparison to Sancho would be bizarre. One arrived at United at the age of 26 and he never settled in England, the other is only 21 and is an England international who has experience of Manchester already due to his time on the opposite side of the city.
For Sancho, there isn’t much reason to be concerned. In the past season, one where he experienced injury problems, he was still extremely influential for Dortmund – scoring twice in the DFB Polkal final, while ending the season with eight goals and 11 assists in just 26 Bundesliga appearances.
In the year prior, when Sancho was a regular fixture in the side, his return was a remarkable 17 goals and 16 assists, building upon the 12 goals and 14 assists he contributed in 2018-19.
To put that into perspective, only Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes netted more in the league this term, with the latter the only player to register more assists than Sancho’s efforts in German football.
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Sancho played a huge role in Dortmund’s turnaround in the second half of the campaign, pushing them towards Champions League qualification, crafting a formidable partnership with Erling Haaland – who he regularly assisted.
At United, having Sancho and Fernandes both providing for Cavani, who is deadly in front of goal, is a frightening prospect for any opposition. In the long-term, Sancho can craft a partnership with Mason Greenwood for years to come.