A penny for Jadon Sancho’s thoughts right now.
What must the Borussia Dortmund winger be thinking, seeing his name in the press every day without fail? Does he ignore the speculation or allow himself to become swamped by it? Is the 20-year-old, despite the suggestion that he is keen to move to Manchester United, ready to give up on that desire in exchange for a quieter life?
It is little wonder Sancho underperformed while playing for England in their recent Nations League encounters against Iceland and Denmark. He must have plenty on his mind.
Of course, it’s not just the media who have been relentless in their mentioning of Sancho. Hardly a day goes by without United fans vocalising their eagerness for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to clinch a deal for him. Everyone knows by now that Sancho is an elite talent; everyone has seen the YouTube highlights reels, they have read his outstanding goal and assist numbers. He ticks every box.
For weeks, though, it seemed like the saga would have no end. United signed Donny van de Beek out of the blue, allaying fears from supporters that they may go throughout the entire summer without a marquee signing. But the recent revelation that United have made progress in talks over agents fees and personal terms with the player comes as music to almost everybody’s ears — bar Dortmund themselves, who are still holding out for £108million.
Solskjaer gave the impression of a manager relaxed about transfer business in his latest interview, yet the truth is surely that the United boss cannot wait to welcome Sancho. It is slowly edging towards becoming a reality. Finally.
Asked if he would be content if United signed no more players this summer and Solskjaer was typically diplomatic.
“I am very happy working with these players and the squad,” he replied. “We are always trying to improve and to see if there’s any way possible that we can improve this squad and bring players in that will have the right level of quality and the right personality and have all the right criteria.
“We all know this summer and this year has been a very strange one and it’s important that everyone understands that this has an effect on football and not everyone can spend millions and millions, and new millions.”
Reading between the lines, however, it is clear that Solskjaer wants more additions and that it would be a disappointment if Van de Beek was the solitary new arrival at Old Trafford this summer. United view a major right-wing transfer as their No.1 priority and this has been their stance for some time.
But following the latest Sancho update, the equation for United is now more simple than it has ever been; they must pay what Dortmund are asking for the player.
With less than a month of the summer window remaining, the time for poker-faced negotiation is gone. Whether the German club want all the cash up front, or whether they will accept add-ons (which is United’s preference) it is time to stop playing the game.
Chelsea have spent more than £200million this summer on five additions. United have never sought that level of upheaval this summer. Their objective has been simple and streamlined, in wanting to sign Sancho.
Now it is time to finally see the saga through to a palatable conclusion. Supporters will not be forgiving if it all falls through at this stage.