“We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season, the decision is final. I think that answer all our questions” – Michael Zorc
The Sporting Director of Borussia Dortmund didn’t leave much room for interpretation when he addressed the press after the first training session of Dortmund’s pre-season training camp. In truth, Dortmund on the whole have left no room for interpretation when addressing the Jadon Sancho situation all summer.
They wanted the fee they deemed worthy of their player. They wanted a specific payment plan. And they wanted it by August 10th or they would simply keep Sancho, safe in the knowledge that he’s under contract until 2023.
The contract expiry date is something that also came out today. The media seemed convinced that Sancho only had two years left on his contract and that Dortmund would be forced into a sale this summer, or risk trying to get maximum value next summer when he would only have 12 months left.
As it happens, Dortmund can keep hold of him, back him to have another great season for them and show his outrageous talents at Euro 2021 next summer. The likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea will all likely throw their hats in the ring next summer as well, meaning there could be a bidding war.
Manchester United fans might point to the departures of Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Dortmund as evidence that just because Dortmund say something, it doesn’t mean they will stick to it.
But the Sancho situation is very different to either of those. Aubameyang was 28 and his value was starting to decline. Dembele packed his bags and fled the country, refusing to return to Germany.
Sancho is 20, and he’s highly unlikely to do what Dembele did. The more notable thing from both of those prior deals is that Dortmund still got their asking price. £60million for Aubameyang and £105million for Dembele.
United’s issue has been that they weren’t willing to pay Dortmund’s asking price. That’s been widely reported by all reliable media members. And it’s hard to blame them. United fans will be furious that the club didn’t just pay the money, but paying the money isn’t always easy. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
United might still get Sancho, though for Dortmund it would set a bad precedent for them to be so emphatic and then go back on their word. United is a money making machine, so they could get the money together but would that leave them unable to fulfill their other needs? Such as a holding midfielder, a central defender and a back-up to Martial.
United can not afford to hang around for the entire window, hoping they can find a deal. They need to get their players in soon, so that they can start building towards next season.
It’s been suggested that United were willing to pay a figure in the region of £55million rising to around £80million for Sancho, that falls a long way short of what Dortmund want but is more than enough to secure them an alternative. With that in mind, here’s a list of five alternate targets United could target within that price range who’d fill their need for a creative player who operates primarily on the right.
It would be fair to say that Dembele’s move to Barcelona has not been a success. Between injuries, inconsistent form and rumoured off-field immaturity, Dembele has not been able to recreate his best form on a consistent basis for the Catalans. This, and Barca’s terrible financial situation, has sparked talk he might available this summer in a cut-price deal.
There’s no doubting his talent, he’s an incredibly gifted player. Blessed with lightning pace, incredible control, two-footed and capable of scoring or creating at the drop of a hat.
Perhaps United could take a low-risk approach and make Barca an offer of taking Dembele on loan, with an option to buy next summer for somewhere in the region of £60million. If he sparks at United and displays his best form, then it’s a bargain price. If it doesn’t go well, United can send him back. No harm, no foul. His wages are easily affordable for United and an upfront loan fee of around £10million could be subtracted from next summer’s final price.
Club: Real Madrid
Real Madrid are in possession of two exceptionally gifted young Brazilian wingers, and either one of them would make a smart addition for United. Given Real’s financial situation, and the presence of Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez and Brahim Diaz it’s possible they might be open to selling one of the boys from Brazil.
Both are capable of playing on either flank, though Vinicius has largely played on the left for Real. Moving him to the right might simplify his game and his blinding pace will trouble any defender in the league. Rodrygo is a little more of a natural forward player, while Vinicius is natural winger. Given United’s system they could fit either into their team.
With Zidane in charge, the feeling seems to be that he will rely more often on the older more experienced players, while could make one of these two available. Either would fit for United, and both have the potential to be absolute stars.
This is a long shot, obviously, given Chelsea are unlikely to be open to selling to one of their rivals. But, Hudson-Odoi might well be in favour of a move away from West London given that his path to their first 11 appears to be on the verge of getting blocked.
With Chelsea adding Ziyech, Werner and potentially Havertz, to Christian Pulisic, that would seem the likely front four for the Blues next season. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount will also compete for minutes and if Lampard changes the shape you’d have to imagine both of those would be ahead of Hudson-Odoi in terms of getting serious minutes.
Hudson-Odoi has seen his development stall over the past year or so due to injury and a lack of playing time but he’s very close to Sancho’s level of natural talent and with Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenword and Brandon Williams, he’d complete a very exciting young English quartet that could play a huge part in United’s future.
Money talks and Chelsea have a lot of needs this summer. After Havertz, if they can get that deal done, they still want a central defender, a left back and a goalkeeper. They might willing to cash in at the right price. Maybe there’s a deal to be had that take Luke Shaw to London along with a large sum of cash.
Another long shot, but this one might be worth pursuing. Dejan Kulusevski is a star in the making.
Juventus bought him from Atalanta in January and loaned him back to Parma for the remainder of the season. It does seem unlikely that they’d be willing to cut bait and move off him already. BUT, he was signed under Sarri. Was he signed for Sarri? Who knows. But if he was, then he might not be part of the plans under Pirlo. He might not be part of the plans anyway.
Of all the clubs in Europe who operate with a WIN NOW mentality, perhaps none exemplify that mindset at this current moment in time moreso than Juventus. They are all in on trying to win the Champions League at the minute. They have Cristiano and they want to put a team around him that can win the Champions League as his window to do so begins to close. Sarri won them the title, but his failings in Europe brought only the sack.
Young players don’t generally factor into that type of thinking, and with Juventus having put themselves in a bit of a whole financially in order to bring Cristiano to Turin, an offer of £50million for Kulusevski might get them to the table.
Big, quick and creative, the Swede tallied 10 goals and 9 assists in his first full Serie A season and did it with aplomb.
Chiesa is definitely available this summer. Fiorentina have been clear that if a club meets their valuation of Chiesa, they will not stand in his way. That price is rumoured to be in the £50million range, and that’s a bargain for a player like him.
A hugely versatile, hugely talented, hard-working attacker like Chiesa is exactly what United are looking for. He’d add pace, goals and creativity into United’s team, and allow Solskjaer the opportunity to try different formations throughout the season.
He has been used in a variety of different ways, including as a central midfielder and as a wingback in certain games, but he’s at his best on the right of the front three where his direct nature causes teams problems. He’s also a very clever player who consistently finds space in the penalty area where others can not.
Chiesa had been expected to join Juventus this summer, but they are out of the race for him now. United could well swoop in and get themselves a great deal on a player who would compliment Rashford, Martial and Greenwood, and could play with any combination of that trio in a variety of different ways.