May 14, 2021

Man Utd

News

United might be about to land their ideal transfer target at the fourth attempt

4 min read

No great story comes without suspense, a notable subplot or twists and turns along the way.

In the case of Manchester United’s long-running pursuit of Jadon Sancho, there is evidence pointing to all three.

Close to four years after leaving the city to join Borussia Dortmund, the England man has re-emerged as a transfer target for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer ahead of the summer window.

In terms of suspense, this is not the first time such a high-profile move has been on the cards

Indeed, United have tried to sign the 21-year-old in three previous summers, the most recent of which was last year, when United were outpriced of a move by Dortmund.

Amid financial concerns brought about the Covid-19 pandemic, a nine-figure fee was never going to be paid – even by those with the capacity to spend such amounts.

As attentions turn to the upcoming window, though, it has been reported that Sancho could be available for what is a cut-price £74million.

Owing to the current state of play financially – and Dortmund’s struggles to qualify for the Champions League – this is an opportunity not to be missed.

After being omitted from England duty in March due to injury, Sancho should return to the fold and play a key part at the delayed European Championship.

United have a track record of targeting high-profile players after international competitions.

Indeed, the likes of Rio Ferdinand (2002) and Wayne Rooney (2004) arrived at Old Trafford in big-money deals after their exploits for England at major championships.

There are, arguably, a number of fitting candidates to follow suit this time around.

Declan Rice has emerged as a target on the back of a stellar season at West Ham, but Dortmund’s decision to make Sancho available presents United with a chance to address one of their problem areas.

Mason Greenwood and Dan James are among those to have been deployed on the right-hand side by Solskjaer this season, but United have not had genuine right-wingers of quality since the days of Antonio Valencia and Nani.

However, they have done so to varying effect, with the team selection made by United in such an important game as a European semi-final against Roma – where Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba operated either side of Uruguayan veteran Edinson Cavani – hinting at where the club may need to strengthen.

One subplot to the Sancho pursuit is, of course, his affiliation with Manchester City.

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But more importantly, as things stand, it’s the future of Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland that provides such an intriguing, sideline factor there.

As the biggest hitters in Europe form an orderly (or disorderly) queue for his signature, the public stance has been that he is not for sale. That hasn’t been the case with Sancho.

Perhaps, the would-be availability of the latter comes in the hope that a big-money sale can allow Dortmund to hold on to their Norwegian sensation for another year – even if it means having to sell him for a reduced fee next summer, owing to the buy-out clause that becomes active in Haaland’s contact in 2022.

Should they move to Old Trafford or anywhere else this summer, Rice and Haaland will command huge sums.

In the case of Sancho, while £74million still marks a huge outlay, his record in the Bundesliga underlines the school of thought that it would represent better value for money.


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His decision to leave Manchester in the first place raised plenty of eyebrows.

However, there is no such concern on his part now. Sancho has recorded 46 goals and 62 assists in 133 outings for Dortmund all-told, highlighting one of the most eye-catching returns in his position across Europe.

At 21, the England winger is nowhere near his peak yet, either, while exposure to the biggest stage suggests he is already well-versed in what it would take to succeed at Old Trafford.

Sancho grew up in the Premier League environment and doesn’t represent a gamble in that respect.

Unlike his former academy teammate Phil Foden, the Dortmund player had to move elsewhere to forge his name and reputation – but if United swoop now, they can ultimately prove how much of a mistake that decision was on the part of their city rivals, while strengthening their own chances of turning Manchester red next season.

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