The most popular transfer story of 2020 – Jadon Sancho to Manchester United.
Whilst fans are always encouraged to not read too much into rumours and speculation, this story has been covered so heavily, there is a growing feeling of ‘inevitability’ about it.
The Manchester Evening News reported at the end of April that the club remain ‘confident’ in securing the deal, despite these economically challenging times. On paper, the Englishman fits the criteria as to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to rebuild his squad with – young, hungry talents, with an emphasis being played on British heritage.
Sancho’s arrival would hopefully provide a solution the lack of creativity out on United’s right flank, with his stats of seventeen goals and nineteen assists this season supporting such a statement.
Off the field too, the 20-year-old would also bring extra monetary value to the club. He is a player than can be marketed to generate large volumes of interest, with the MEN also reporting that United officials see the forward as an ‘obvious choice’ for the number seven jersey.
Alexis Sanchez currently occupies the notorious shirt, but the Chilean could be moved on this summer. If so, granting Sancho the historic number would be another step forward in contributing to the new, rejuvenated identity being formed at Old Trafford.
Manchester United ‘remain confident’ in landing Jadon Sancho this summer, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Whilst the Red Devils interest in the Borussia Dortmund forward has become one of football’s worst kept secrets, doubts have been placed over whether the deal could be completed. Ed Woodward has recently reiterated (via SkySports) that ‘transfers for hundreds of millions’ would be difficult, given the economical context.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on football clubs around the globe, with virtually all streams of revenue coming to a streaking halt. Despite the uncertain times though, the MEN report that United are confident in signing their top transfer target.
As per Fabrizio Romano (via The United Stand), Dortmund have set an asking price of £87m for Sancho, a fair price tag given the 20-year-old’s pedigree. On paper, the Englishman fits the criteria with what United are looking to rebuild their squad with, hence the eagerness to push on with the deal.
The MEN further report that the club believe ‘he can fire them back towards the Premier League’s summit’, so there is very little to suggest why United would pull out of negations.
Although these are hard financial times for everybody, the Red Devils maintain a strong position to land their targets this summer.
Manchester United’s admiration of the player has become one of the worst kept secrets in world football, with the club being keen to finalise a deal for the forward this summer.
The teenager is a profile that ticks all the boxes for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – not only would he provide a solution on the field to the longstanding issue out on the right flank, but his English heritage and age are a huge bonus. The latter two factors are important pieces of criteria that the manager wants to rebuild his squad with, hence why the club are prioritising (via MEN) the player.
There has been encouraging developments with regards to the potential deal, with the reliable Fabrizio Romano adding to such last night. Speaking on the United Stand Youtube channel, the journalist provided a key insight into the transfer.
Romano stated that the club are in talks with Sancho and that ‘the contract won’t be a problem.’ United are apparently ‘in love’ with the player, as they clearly see the forward as an integral piece of the plan to elevate them to the next level.
In terms of agreeing personal terms, there doesn’t seem to be an issue whatsoever. SportBild reported on Wednesday morning that Sancho is ‘flattered’ by the plan to make him the club’s official poster boy. He will be handed the number seven shirt, with the Red Devils marketing a global brand around him.
The real stumbling block appears to be the transfer fee, particularly in these economically challenging times. Should United and Dortmund come to an agreement though, everything else appears in line for the player to come back to Manchester.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the world of sports.
Despite the lavish amount of money that is involved with football, we have seen some of the most prestigious clubs rely on pay-cuts in order to survive. Given the fragile situation of the global economy, there has been serious doubts placed on this summer’s transfer window and teams’ capability to spend big.
“I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport.”
Woodward doubts big transfers will happen this summer
Such comments no doubt highlight a pragmatic mindset from the United official, and ones that reflect the harsh realities that clubs face this summer. However, the Evening Standard report that the Red Devils’ transfer plans are not being shelved.
Jadon Sancho still very much remains part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s project for next season, with leading figures at Borussia Dortmund recognising the high probability that the Englishman will depart this summer.
Such belief likely stems from the player’s reported wishes, to which he wants the best possible contract available. This is according to the reliable Raphael Honigstein, who cites United in being the place to find just that.
Going off such reports, it seems clear the club are driven to invest this summer, with Sancho remaining at the top of their wish-list.
Whilst various names continue to get linked to Manchester United ahead of this summer’s transfer window, it’s clear to see which areas the club are looking to strengthen.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified a shortlist of targets for the Red Devils to work on, as he looks to continue revamping the squad with young, hungry players. As confirmed by B/R Football, the club are after a central midfielder, a right-winger, a striker and potentially a centre-back.
Now, according to the Manchester Evening News, the club have identified Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish has their two top targets this summer. Both players have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, with B/R Football also reporting that there is a ‘good chance’ that United will capture both signatures in the next transfer window.
The club were reportedly interested in Sancho last summer, with Borussia Dortmund even wanting to haggle a deal that included Mason Greenwood. United haven’t possessed an attacking direct threat down the right-flank since the days of Luis Nani, hence their eagerness to snap up one of Europe’s most prestigious talents in the shape of the 20-year-old.
On paper, Sancho fits Solskjaer’s desired profile to a tee, matching the reported criteria of ‘being humble, but with an X factor’. With seventeen goals and eighteen assists to his name this season, there can be no doubting United’s hunger to splash out on the forward this summer.
Grealish also fits the mould of player that the Norwegian is keen to rebuild his squad with. The Aston Villa captain has demonstrated his leadership qualities this season, establishing himself as an authoritative figure in the middle of the park.
As a player that likes to drive forward down the left channel and create openings for his team, he would offer some creative support to the advanced Bruno Fernandes. So far this season, the Englishman has averaged 2.7 key passes and 2.2 dribbles per game in the league, highlighting just how effective he is with the ball at his feet.
There can be no denying that both players would slot straight into Solskjaer’s starting XI, improving the quality in depth instantly. So far, all the signs are promising for United capturing their desired men this summer.
United’s interest in both players is hardly a well-kept secret, with various outlets continuously linking them with potential moves. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to carry on re-building his squad with young, hungry, British players, with the two figures fitting this profile to a tee.
Despite the current economical climate, the club seem keen to press on and further invest into a team that has been rapidly progressing since the turn of the new year.
As per Jones, there is a ‘good chance’ that both players will join Old Trafford this summer, as both of their names are at the top of Solskjaer’s wish-list.
Sancho is reportedly being sold the deal based on ‘heritage and tradition’, as the Englishman will receive the notorious number seven jersey. The Borussia Dortmund forward has grown to become quite the household name across Europe, and he would be marketed as one of United’s key ‘poster boys’.
The club ‘dream’ of a front three of him, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford – quite a terrifying prospect given each individual’s potential.
Jones also touched on the highly-desired Jude Bellingham, revealing that he believes the club will sign four players this summer. The Birmingham City midfielder is in hot demand, with Dortmund also reportedly keen. The Red Devils gave the 16-year-old a tour around Carrington back in January, so it seems like the decision solely rests with the player himself.
United’s interest in the player is certainly no secret, as speculation and stories have been circulating since the new year. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to bring in players that are ‘arrogant but humble’, whilst prioritising British signings, making Sancho the perfect profile.
Sky Sports reported back in February that Dortmund would demand £100m for his services, quite the fair price tag given the 20-year-old’s pedigree.
As mentioned, various reports have been teeing up the transfer move to be finalised come summer, with Honigstein now reporting that the Bundesliga club are open to getting the deal done.
The Athletic journalist is one of the most reputable across Europe, holding a distinct reputation for his ties within German football. His latest report is certainly encouraging news for United, as it looks like the deal will simply come down to whether or not the club is prepared to meet demands.
Sancho is reportedly keen to join the Red Devils (via Irish Independent), with this potential transfer looking like (dare I say) a rather straightforward one to conclude.
There is no currently no other player in world football that is creating more excitement or hype than Jadon Sancho.
With football being put on pause, there has been an even bigger focus on transfer stories and rumours, as we head into the summer territory. Such speculation is always met with large volumes of interest, but there is currently a bigger demand than normal, surrounding the news of new potential recruits at Old Trafford.
Sancho has been heavily linked with a move to United this summer, from all the top-tier sources. Fans have welcomed such news with open arms, as he looks to be a player that can take the club to the next level.
Foundations for new arrivals to settle
New signings always hold the potential to bring new-life into a club, just look at Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese international has hit the ground-running at United since arriving last January, scoring three goals and assisting four, in just his opening nine games.
Whilst such form can be credited to the midfielder’s natural ability, we must also recognise the environment that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has created, for signings like Fernandes to settle in at. This season, the Norwegian has set some stable foundations in place with the team, filtering out large pieces of deadwood and establishing a much more positive looking squad.
Team selections have been consistent and players have started to form relationships on the field. Fernandes was welcomed into a starting XI with two sitting midfielders and three attacking frontmen, a shape that Solskjaer and his staff have been working on, for almost twelve months now.
Through remaining committed to their style of play and philosophy, Old Trafford has become a much more organised environment for new recruits to arrive in. There is no shoe-horning of players into unnatural positions, but instead, the manager is identifying specific targets to fill voids in his team.
Like Fernandes, Sancho would be joining with a clear understanding of his role. Occupying the right-wing spot, he will be playing in-front of the defensive figure of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with his responsibilities consisting of being the team’s direct threat in the final third. On paper, this is where things start to get exciting.
Match made in heaven
So far this season, 42% of United’s attacking play has come down the left channel. No doubt the largest contributing factor to this is from the influence of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, with their tendencies to drift out wide and then cut inside.
The latter has predominately been utilised as a number nine this year, but the Frenchman feels more comfortable running with the ball at his feet, when attacking down the left-flank. Whilst both forwards have enjoyed very productive seasons, the major downfall to such tendencies results in United’s play becoming a little predictable.
Their attacking intent is often shoehorned down the left channel, as there is no direct threat on the opposite flank. The likes of Juan Mata and Daniel James have been utilised there, but neither hold the flare or experience of a winger, to maintain a balanced look to Solskjaer’s frontline.
Up step Sancho. The 19-year-old has over two years under his belt in operating out on the right, playing an integral role in Borussia Dortmund’s dynamic and explosive front-line. Averaging 2.6 dribbles per game in the league, he offers a direct threat down the channel, hugging the touchline and beating his man around the outside.
Despite being a right-footed right-winger though, Sancho has also mastered the art at drifting inside and attacking the space in between the centre-back and full-back. Seven of his nineteen goals this season have come from the Englishman starting on the right, very encouraging stats for such a young talent.
Front three of dreams
Should Sancho arrive, a front-three of him, Martial and Rashford is quite a terrifying prospect.
It is a frontline that Solskjaer has been building towards since taking charge, as he likes granting his frontmen a licensee to run in-behind and interchange with one another. The system is deployed both home and away, with the Norwegian opting for two sitting midfielders that offer defensive security to the middle of the park.
This ‘comfort blanket’ allows the attackers to sit further up the field, a factor that maintains a counter-attacking threat for the team, at any given point. With such freedom, Sancho would be granted a free role to change between staying out-wide and drifting inside, playing off both Martial and Rashford.
This season, the three players have a shared total of fifty-four goals, making the thought of the trio playing together quite the exciting proposition.
There should only be a few weeks of the season left, but the with the coronavirus pandemic bringing a halt to football across the country, the wait for transfers both in and out could go on a little longer yet.
Manchester United have been productive in the windows so far under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, bringing in younger talent and identifying players that want to play for the club and not just for the money. Equally, those who weren’t fitting the mould have been sent on to pastures new.
The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera both have their Old Trafford days behind them, and despite Ole saying Alexis Sanchez will prove us wrong in January, conflicting reports suggest that we are unlikely to see him again in a United shirt.
That begs the question, one that has been asked a few times since Cristiano Ronaldo left the Theatre of Dreams, as to who will be United’s next number seven – either next season or post Sanchez?
The former Manchester City man is reportedly high on United’s most wanted list with plenty of murmurings on social media suggesting that the deal to bring Sancho to Old Trafford is already signed and sealed.
That would surely put him in prime position to take the seven shirt and he will certainly fit the bill, as almost all of the successful United heroes to wear the famous shirt have had a certain amount of flare. Namely Best and Ronaldo, who Sancho would be in a similar mould.
He’s scored 19 times in 40 appearances for club and country this season – more than a decent return for an inside forward, rather than an out-and-out striker.
United really require somebody on the right of the front three, with Daniel James having suffered a burnout, Juan Mata past his best and Jesse Lingard lacking in confidence.
Sancho would slot in there perfectly and wouldn’t shy away from the pressure the seven shirt would bring. Just imagine starting next season with Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
If United wanted to fill the number seven jersey with somebody who could rival Eric Cantona in the confidence stakes, then Jack Grealish could be their man.
Both United and Grealish have seemingly been flirting with each other for some time, and with Aston Villa struggling at the wrong end of the table, Ole could well make his move when the window opens, especially if Paul Pogba moves on.
If Villa go down then the claret and blue fans will be expecting Grealish to move on anyway, and if they stay up, he will have played a massive part and will likely have the Villa fans wishes to move on to bigger and better things. Either way, United will have a chance to go and get him.
He’s carried Villa from the Championship, and although coming to United and doing the same thing is a much bigger task, it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t at least show the same fighting spirit at Old Trafford.
Grealish is a great ball carrier and isn’t shy at having a shot a goal – scoring nine times for Villa this season. At 24, he fits the profile of a Solskjaer signing and offers something slightly different than United’s current options in the heart of midfield.
Another young British talent that United have shown some interest in is Leicester City’s James Maddison.
A set piece specialist, Maddison names David Beckham as his hero and inspiration, which suggests he wouldn’t mind donning Becks’ old shirt at Old Trafford.
However, the 23-year-old hasn’t quite been at his very best this season and playing predominantly as an attacking midfielder means the signing of Bruno Fernandez in January is likely to have knocked him down United’s shortlist.
It would be a surprise for United to renew their interest in him in the near future, especially with Pogba still around, but if attempts for Sancho don’t come to fruition then he’d be a decent backup to come and play off that right hand side.
According to top-tier source Laurie Whitwell (of The Athletic), the club are very interested in the 19-year-old, with the player’s feelings being mutual too.
Fans have become excited by such news, with one now taking to Mata on Instagram for answers. The Spaniard replied to the above question:
“What do you want me to say? We all know he’s a great player. He’s having a fantastic season at Dortmund.”
– Mata on Sancho joining Manchester United
With 17 goals and 19 assists to his name this campaign, Mata’s comments are certainly justified. Sancho has grown to become one of the hottest talents across Europe, with both Chelsea and Liverpool also being cited as potential buyers.
Although United appear to be the favourites for his signature though, Mata is not giving anything away with the potential transfer:
“It’s not my responsibility to speak about those things. I like him as a player but I cannot reply to that.”
– Mata refuses to fuel speculation
Such a reply won’t come as a surprise to fans, as players are always hesitant to get involved with these type of stories. Whilst he has not fuelled the speculation any further, it’s clear that he has given Sancho his seal of approval.