How Manchester United deal with the transfer market this summer will be crucial. There are signs of real long-term potential in the developing squad and strong performances from the Old Trafford recruits in the coming weeks could close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.
If they get it right.
This means carefully considering newcomers who will improve the team, not just now but for years to come, as well as weeding out more deadwood that is a drain on resources. Getting the best value for these players, or temporarily removing them from the wage bill, is just as important when the current climate amid the coronavirus pandemic has reduced finances.
United have already seen some of the impact in the latest financial results and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward warned separately that no club would be immune to the impact.
It is generally assumed that United will compete better than most as a result of its huge commercial revenue, although limitations cannot be ignored at will.
According to The Athletic, United have calculated a hit of up to £115m in lost revenue for the season. It’s unclear what the transfer budget will be and the same report suggests the club are refusing to set one as a result of some unknown influence – ‘industry experts’ believe United will spend £50m net. is talking
That means an outlay of £50m in addition to what is brought back into the club. It can be hoped that a few players, some of whom are high earners, can be sold before next season to raise funds and increase the transfer budget.
It is worth noting here that last summer’s spending was halved by selling Romelu Lukaku.
Alexis Sanchez is among the players Man Utd want to sell / Marco Luzani / Getty Images
Alexis Sanchez is the most obvious in terms of shedding his salary burden, while Chris Smalling is wanted by Roma after an impressive season on loan in Serie A. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are two others who have no future at Old Trafford. Jesse Lingard and even the once impressive Diego Dalot have been added to the equation.
Lingard was notably linked with a move to West Ham earlier this week, as was Jones, but The Athletic suggest that agent Mino Raiola engineering should not discount a potential move to the Italian. The concern will be whether United can find buyers with the resources to meet the price.
United have the option to spread the cost of a transfer over the length of a player’s contract. The Athletic writes that the club have been known to pay full fees in the past, most notably for Harry Maguire when he was bought from Leicester last summer.
But installations can stretch budgets and are a common tactic – a high-profile example being Arsenal’s club-record £72m capture of Nicolas Pepe last summer, who was reported to be worth just £20m. has come out. The other £52m is spread over five years.
90 Minutes has understood since September that United are confident of signing Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this year. This stance has not changed although the crisis has forced a broader thinking about spending and the club is no longer willing to go beyond £100m.
Jadon Sancho is Man Utd’s preferred transfer target / Lars Baron / Getty Images
Athletic have reported that a ‘considerable sum’ has been earmarked for Sancho, in excess of £50m, with Dortmund allegedly unwilling to exceed that – if correctly reported. Granted, that’s probably a negotiating tactic rather than a real financial limit.
It was initially reported in Germany earlier this week that Dortmund had set an August 10 deadline for the proposed deal. However, United is relaxed about the time frame.
Dortmund are said to want a €100m (£87m) guarantee for Sancho, while a recent local German report claims the player’s overall value remains at €120m (£108m). .
Man Utd must negotiate transfer fee for Sancho/DeFodi Images/Getty Images
Dortmund are at least preparing themselves for the very real possibility that Sancho won’t be at the Westphalian Stadium next season. An admission from sporting director Michael Zorc to the German media revealed that he is now actively considering changes.
“If Jadon should go, we will work again in the offensive area. There are definitely one or two players that we are targeting,” Zorc, a former Dortmund player, told kicker.
Sancho is the main target, the missing piece in the attacking jigsaw, but the 20-year-old is not the only player United are looking for this summer.
It had long been established that Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham made United’s priority wish list this summer. The blow comes as Bellingham look set to opt for Dortmund, but interest in Grealish remains and 90 Minutes revealed last month that the club had sought the opinion of former Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce about the player. Is. The review was a positive one.
However, United will delay making an approach until it is known whether Villa will still be in the Premier League next season, as relegation could make Grealish cheaper and easier to sign.
Jack Grealish is another Man Utd target / Malcolm Cousins / Getty Images
As demands and needs continue to evolve and change, there are even rumors that United could lose interest in Grealish due to the prospect of Paul Pogba now staying. The Villa captain will still add a lot of depth, but with a return to larger concerns about finances and more cautious spending, more pressing priorities may now lie elsewhere.
This could be in the form of a new centre-back when defensive weaknesses, despite a healthy record, have become apparent as the season resumes. An ESPN report named Nathan Ake, Tyrone Mingus and Alessio Romagnoli as potential targets under consideration.
The Athletic suggest that a £40m price tag for Ake in the current season could be prohibitive. They have ‘a number of possible options’ but refrained from naming any others.
United’s need for a striker is reduced in light of Odion Ighalo’s loan extension until next January, but it is still on the agenda and highlights Lyon’s interest in Moussa Dembele, a player who has already been linked for some time. is on and off. .
If negotiations for Sancho break down, United sources at Athletic believe Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele could be available as a cheap target.
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