Exclusive - Manchester United remain confident that they will sign Jadon Sancho before next season, despite Borussia Dortmund's attempts to tie the England forward down to a new contract.
The German side have been looking to entice the 20-year-old to pen a second 'double-your-money' deal in the space of 12 months following his excellent spell in the Bundesliga, though attached with a promise that they will agree to a sale in the summer of 2021.
United, as previously reported, have been at the head of the queue for most of the past year. Though the coronavirus pandemic, suspension of football and subsequent financial impact has meant most of Europe's big clubs are not looking to - or able to, in some cases - make massive transfer market statements in 2020.
What follows is a rundown of Sancho's contract, where it leaves Dortmund, and what 90min understands of the situation on the whole.
Jadon Sancho's Contract
Sancho's current deal at Dortmund has just over two years to run, and prior to the coronavirus pandemic it had been expected that the Bundesliga club would cash in before next season - if of course his desire was to go.
They had hoped that even if they were to sanction a sale in 2020, that Sancho would have used the European Championships - with its latter rounds held in England - as a tool to not only drive up interest, but his price. The pandemic has meant that not only has the competition has been delayed by a year, but that the pool of suitors has shrunk - for now at least.
90min sources indicate that Dortmund have been ready to appease Sancho by offering him a chance to double his £100,000-a-week basic earnings - he earns far more in bonuses - to stay for another year and until the market picks back up. It would have come with a guarantee that the sale would take place in 2021.
The understanding is that Dortmund will not stand in the player's way if he wishes to leave.
Manchester United's Outlook on the Sancho Situation
United would offer Sancho a bigger financial package than his current club regardless of when the deal goes through, with suggestions being that he could earn £250,000-a-week upon joining. Sancho would be handed the iconic, yet daunting given the performances of more recent incumbents, United number 7 shirt.
Dortmund do have the advantage of likely being able to offer guaranteed Champions League football next season - United sit outside the top four in the Premier League at present - though a source retains that Sancho wants to return to England and that United remain his number one choice as it stands.
United are confident they are building towards a long-term fix following problems since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and there will be big clubs in England each year that miss out on the Champions League, of course. At 20, Sancho has plenty of time left to play in Europe's biggest competition and wants to be convinced on a long-term project. United believe they can do that.
Dortmund's Stand-Off With United & Interest From Other Clubs
While the pandemic has meant they have had to reassess - Ed Woodward admitted on a conference call last month that "it may not be 'business as usual' for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer" - United do remain in a strong position compared to most of their direct rivals when it comes to the 2020 market.
In recent weeks, however, Dortmund and United have been firing shots across the media about their stances on the England winger.
The German side insist they won’t be dropping Sancho's asking price dramatically despite the current pandemic, they believe this has not impacted on his market value. United feel differently and have made it known they won’t pay over £100m despite their previous plans, and it has led to something of an impasse.
United, however, recognise that this summer is their best chance of signing the player, so are keen to press ahead. He is their number one target and doing a deal while the running is narrowed will make things easier. There's a strong chance that hesitating for another year will leave an opportunity for their rivals to enter the running, likely in better financial positions than they are at present.
Chelsea and Liverpool have made no secret of their interest in the player, while Sancho's former club Manchester City are likely to lose Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich - with a potential need to fill his position. United have been clear in recent months that they will offer more than their rivals to get the deal done, but the waters could muddy should the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain seriously join the hunt.
A source close to the situation has however explained to 90min: “This is a stand-off between the two clubs, Dortmund are letting United know that they don’t have to sell and won’t be forced into it, whilst United are insistent they won’t pay too much in the current climate.
“Despite the recent waves, the expectation from both sides is that this deal will get done - at some point this summer.”