Manchester United still have plenty of time to sign Jadon Sancho, regardless of what Borussia Dortmund say. The transfer deadline is almost two months away and Dortmund have a record of insisting players won’t leave and then letting them leave – Ousmane Dembele, anyone?
It is widely believed that Sancho wants to make the move to Old Trafford, leaving it to United to thrash out a deal with Dortmund. They may no longer believe the 20-year-old is worth the €120m asking price in the current financial climate, but belligerently low balling the Bundesliga side won’t do a lot of good when there is no pressure for them to sell.
Sancho has a contract until 2023 and Dortmund are well aware there will be a wider market for him next year when more clubs have the financial resources to make attractive bids.
It is up to United to make an acceptable offer now or risk losing out. But, if they can’t put that package together this year and Sancho slips away, panic buying an alternative winger could potentially be worse than bringing in nobody at all.
Failing to reinforce in attacking areas wouldn’t sit well with the more vocal arm of the club’s social media support who are determined to see new signings as a proxy for progress, come what may.
United are at a delicate stage in the transitional project that has developed since January. This squad has the makings of one capable of seriously competing for major honours at home and abroad for the first in years, but only if new players now coming in are the right ones.
There is a belief that Sancho is right, but the club has been burned too often in the past by signing too many of the wrong players. Individuals, who while objectively talented, weren’t the right fit for whatever reason – whether it be Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez.
Former manager Louis van Gaal has bemoaned in the years since his dismissal that he often wasn’t afforded his first choice signings, claiming he was sometimes presented with fourth, fifth or even seventh or eighth choice players on the shortlist.
If the Sancho deal cannot happen, United must avoid throwing themselves at other players for the sake of signing a winger. The likes of Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembele have been linked as potential alternatives, but neither seems to be the right match.
Panic buying or signing players for the sake of doing something is never a smart move.
Once raved about, Coman has been held back by injuries in recent years. The 24-year-old has never started more than 20 Bundesliga games in a given season and it is little coincidence that Bayern Munich have brought in Leroy Sane this summer, having initially wanted to last year.
If that was the alternative option, United would be better putting even more faith in Mason Greenwood and hoping that Daniel James has learned from his first year at Old Trafford.
Similarly, Dembele has had a nightmare with injuries and fitness since joining Barcelona in 2017 and has, on occasion, missed months at a time. The Frenchman hasn’t played since November because of hamstring and muscle injuries and it would be a huge risk bringing him to Old Trafford.
There will be other clubs keen to offload their spare parts, or agents looking for a pay day, in the knowledge that there is a possibility the Sancho deal won’t happen and looking to take advantage of a United they hope will become desperate.
Making the wrong signings now could derail the progress that has been seen this year. Preserving that above all else is more important than signing just anyone.