Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been warned that if the Red Devils do not sign Jadon Sancho this summer, they may face far greater competition for his signature in 12 months’ time.
Sancho is United’s top target but Borussia Dortmund say the England international is going nowhere.
The 20-year-old has travelled to Switzerland with the rest of Dortmund’s first-team squad for a pre-season training camp.
And sporting director Michael Zorc said: “We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season. The decision is final. I think that answers all our questions.
“Last summer we adjusted Jadon’s salary to match the development of his performances. So in context, we had already extended his contract until 2023 back then.”
Dortmund have made it clear it would take in excess of £100million – which would make him the most expensive Premier League signing of all time – for Sancho to leave.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to add Sancho to an already-blistering attack to help bridge the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.
As it stands, unless United meet Dortmund’s valuation – which they are unwilling to do with it thought that they believe such a price tag to be unrealistic in a coronavirus-affected market – the Premier League giants will need Sancho to submit a transfer request to try and force a switch this summer.
But Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol insists that if United cannot reach a compromise to sign Sancho before October 5, then the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona could look to sign him next summer.
All three clubs have far lesser resources this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prevented fans from attending matches across Europe since March.
Yet in 12 months’ time it is hoped life will be closer to normal and that a coronavirus vaccine will be in worldwide circulation to allow supporters to return to stadiums.
And that would allow United’s arch-rivals Liverpool – as well as Spanish heavyweights Real and Barca – to enter the equation and try to beat them to the signature of the forward, who is widely viewed as a generational talent.
Woodward and United have also been warned that they will not be able to do a deal on the cheap, because Sancho will not look to force through a move away from the Westfalenstadion.
Solhekol told Sky Sports: “Sancho is not the kind of character who will kick up a fuss, put in a transfer request or develop a mysterious injury to force through a move.
“It would suit United for him to agitate, but while they still have not actually made an offer for him, why would he?
“The player can only keep his head down and keep working hard, looking ahead to the new season with Dortmund.
“He is young, he has a great thing going there, and in the background he knows most of Europe’s big clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain – would love to sign him at some stage.
“He can afford to sit tight and watch how things develop between the clubs.”
United are determined to try and broker a deal but have yet to submit an official bid as they take a patient approach, as they did with the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes in the past year.
Solhekol added: “Manchester United are not giving up their chase for Sancho despite Borussia Dortmund publicly insisting he will stay beyond this summer.
“The England winger remains United’s number one target and, as far as they are concerned, the transfer window is still in its early phase; there are still just less than two months to go.
“United will do their business at a pace that suits them, not that of another club.
“This, coupled with so much time left until October 5, explains why they have not yet made an offer for the player.
“They also remain in the Europa League, with a good chance of going all the way, so increasing the pace and intensity into making this signing now could be an unwanted distraction.
“United are frustrated that things have turned out this way so far; that it looks to be becoming one of those ‘sagas’.
“They are also frustrated Dortmund have so far made them deal with two agents, and do not want to deal directly.
“The main obstacles so far have been Dortmund’s refusal to budge on the fee, as well as the agents’ cut and the player’s wages.
“United do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past, such as with Alexis Sanchez, who has just been paid off to finish his £560,000 per-week contract.
“But, ultimately, United know the player wants to move to Old Trafford and they still have plenty of time to make it happen. Nothing that has happened over the past week changes that.”
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