Manchester United’s top priority target this summer remains to be Jadon Sancho. It’s a story that first began picking up traction last year, with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer now identifying the player in being a key pillar as part of his rebuilding job at the club.
In any other year, it’s a deal that could be concluded pretty easily. The player is reportedly keen on a move to Manchester (via MEN) and with just two years left on his contract, Borussia Dortmund aren’t in a situation to drag out negotiations.
However, the hiatus of sport around the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic, has had a devastating impact on football clubs. It was announced on Thursday that United had already lost up to £28m (via BBC) due to the virus, with the sudden haltering of revenue streams casting doubts over the capabilities of big spending in the upcoming transfer window.
Due to the circumstances, player exchanges could become a common avenue for clubs to pursue this summer. Should United not be able to match the entirety of Dortmund’s asking price, we’ve picked out three separate players that could help push the transfer over the final line.
Dean Henderson (Loan)
United could kill two birds with one stone by adding Dean Henderson to this deal – he’s a player that would not only appeal to Dortmund, but the keeper would also benefit largely from operating in a setup where many other youngsters have thrived in the past.
The Englishman has kept ten clean sheets in the Premier League this season, showcasing his ability to perform on the main stage. Although he is valued by those at United, there is a general consensus that he would benefit from another loan move, before competing for the first-team spot at Old Trafford in 2021.
A year in the Bundesliga would aid his development further – it’s a division that is used as a stepping stone by many young talents, with it being more than likely that Dortmund will be in the Champions League next season too. The German club would likely welcome a new goalkeeper, as they have conceded the most goals out of the league’s top six this season.
Roman Burki has held the number one position for the past five years, but he has been on the decline this campaign. He has the second worst save percentage in the Bundesliga, with his 6.33 WhoScored rating for the season highlighting a need for change. Henderson’s arrival would certainly be classed as an upgrade.
Manuel Akanji and Matts Hummels have established a strong relationship at the back for Dortmund, but beyond these two figures, the club severely lacks depth in their defensive options. Both the aforementioned names have featured in all but two Bundesliga games this season, with 20-year-old Dan-Axel Zagadou being utilised on a very pragmatic basis.
Chris Smalling’s future at United was all but confirmed when the decision was made to loan him out to Roma – £80m has since been invested into the now club captain Harry Maguire, with Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe all competing to be his partner. There is now little room for the former, who will be seeking a new permanent home this summer.
Whilst Roma will be interested, due to the Englishman making an impression during his loan spell, there is large doubt over whether any Serie A club will be able to spend this year. Smalling has shown his capabilities abroad this season and Dortmund could certainly do a lot worse when it comes to bolstering their defensive options.
Everything over the past twelve months has pointed to an inevitable Jesse Lingard exit. The Englishman has fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his teaming up with Mino Raiola coincides with his bleak contract situation – the club are yet to extend his current deal which expires just next year.
It looks as though the 27-year-old would be available should a club come knocking, but due to the fragile economy, it seems unlikely that a straight transaction for the player will occur this summer – hence his inclusion on this list. On paper, this deal would seem the most plausible. Lingard is an energetic presser whose best work comes off the ball, traits that are typically associated with this aggressive Dortmund side.
Lucien Farve also likes to operate with fluid frontmen, who are capable of interchanging and setting up in various roles – it’s a fair statement in categorising the Englishman in being such a player. Although his attacking output has dried up since his best performing season back in 2018, Lingard would also fill a small slice of the void left behind by Sancho, as he is a figure that likes to operate inside the final third.
Dortmund would no doubt look for a more direct replacement for their departing star, but the 27-year-old’s services could potentially be welcomed.
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