Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has claimed that Manchester United's offer of more than £100m for Jadon Sancho 'never existed in reality'.
Reports over the summer suggested United were frustrated at the German side's refusal to budge on their €120m (£108m) asking price, and eventually directed their attention elsewhere after they offered to break the £100m barrier, but were still told no.
But Watzke, speaking to German newspaper Kicker (as broken down by Sport Witness) says that United's offer was not as high as claimed. He also suggested that the two clubs were at odds over the terms of payment, as United preferred to pay the fee up over a period of years.
“The alleged transfer fee often mentioned in the media never existed in reality," he said. "And if you get a signal at some point that a large part of the amount offered will only be paid in a few years, it will finally be a pure theoretical discussion."
Sancho's form dipped after the deal failed to materialise but he scored his first league goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg on Sunday. It's been a tricky season for Dortmund, who sacked manager Lucien Favre last month, and Watzke admits the situation has taken its toll on the player.
A return to form, however, is welcome, and Watzke is hopeful he will rediscover his magic in the second half of the season.
“Jadon might have been subconsciously prepared for a change. I think he had at least thought so much about it that he lost his ease, but I have found him trying very hard for weeks," he went on.
“The biggest difference is: he used to not think about his next ball action. Now he thinks about it. And the tenth of a second he misses is often exactly the one in which the opponent is already standing on his feet. The more you try as a creative person, the more difficult it often becomes.
“I think he needs two or three successes in a row, then things will quickly improve again. He is still one of the greatest talents there is.”