Jadon Sancho to Manchester United and the bemusing barriers in the summer’s...

Jadon Sancho to Manchester United and the bemusing barriers in the summer’s biggest transfer saga


That Manchester United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho has turned into the transfer saga of the summer is no surprise.

But the nature of the barriers being placed in the way of what is expected to be the biggest deal of the window are bemusing to those involved in the negotiations.

Not least because all parties want this move to happen – and to happen now.

Borussia Dortmund are willing sellers.

Man United are eager buyers.

And Sancho has his heart set on Old Trafford.

So what’s the problem – apart from the £108million fee of course?

For a start the two clubs aren’t talking.

Relations between Dortmund and United are said to be very cordial, despite a clear disparity over their respective valuations of Sancho.

But Old Trafford officials were surprised when instructed to conduct negotiations through Sancho’s agent Emeka Obasi.

Dortmund have also involved Marco Lichtsteiner as an intermediary, but United’s main dealings have been with Obasi.

United are understood to be frustrated with the pace of negotiations – particularly given Dortmund’s insistence on a transfer being agreed by August 10 .

Meanwhile, despite repeated claims that personal terms have been agreed, United still consider wages and agent fees a problem.

If Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc is to be taken at his word, the deal is now off.

“We plan with Jadon Sancho,” he said on Monday. “He’ll play for us next season. The decision is final. I think that answers all of the questions.”

Those comments have been taken as posturing, while United never intended to be bound an artificial deadline so early on in the window.

United will continue talks with Obasi and Lichtsteiner though, with the club still hoping to reach a breakthrough to land Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s primary target.

But Zorc’s public statement, combined with United’s frustration with Obasi point towards rising tensions.

There is also the threat they will walk away if a compromise cannot be reached, but the truth is that Solskjaer does not even want to consider an alternative to his first choice.

Jack Grealish – even if not a like-for-like replacement – may yet emerge as another option to supplement United’s attack, with Mason Greenwood continuing to operate on the right if Sancho doesn’t come.

Photo: Getty Images

Solskjaer, though, is only planning for Sancho right now, having had to shelve a move for the 20-year-old last summer.

Daniel James was ultimately signed to offer balance on the right wing, but he has failed to build on a bright start.

Solskjaer is unlikely to want to compromise again, having told Ed Woodward and United’s transfer committee that he would rather do without than have to look too far down a list of three to five targets for any one position.

In the case of Sancho he is reluctant to look past No1.

On the other hand, Sancho is believed to be convinced his future lies at Old Trafford and is happy for talks to progress.

Photo: Getty Images

Still, there have been no complaints about his attitude since returning to Dortmund for pre-season and he also made sure he was back from a trip to London in time to join the rest of the squad as they flew out to Switzerland for a training camp.

Dortmund wanted his future sorted before that, which is why a deadline of August 10 was set.

Likewise Solskjaer doesn’t want his business to drag on in the manner of the Harry Maguire transfer last summer. There is an acceptance from all parties that a drawn out saga benefits no one.

All parties want a swift resolution, which is why there is confusion at United over the protracted nature of negotiations with the very intermediary Dortmund put in place.

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