Manchester United will seek to boost their summer transfer budget by trying to sell six first-team players over the coming weeks and months, including Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Alexis Sanchez.
United are hoping to continue the ongoing squad rebuild in the summer transfer window and have long prioritised the signing of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho. But with the coronavirus crisis impacting football finances all over the world, the club will also need to raise funds in order to strengthen the squad in other parts of the pitch as necessary.
It was recently reported that United have set aside a ‘considerable amount of money’ with which to sign Sancho – more than the £50m they are alleged to have told Dortmund they are willing to spend.
But there are estimates that the Old Trafford club could miss out on as much as £115m in revenue this season because of the pandemic impact, which will have an obvious knock-on effect. United have been unwilling to put a figure on it but experts suggest a £50m net spend is in order.
To put that into context, last summer’s net spend on Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire was in the region of £75m once the sale of Romelu Lukaku was taken into account.
That means sales will have a major part to play if United are to try and buy more than just Sancho ahead of the 2020/21 season.
The Daily Telegraph lists six first-team players, none of whom appear to have an Old Trafford future under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club is willing to try and move on.
As already alluded to, Lingard, Jones and Sanchez are on that list. So too are Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling, both of whom have been loaned out this season. Young Portuguese full-back Diogo Dalot is also among the list of names the club is happy to let go.
Despite initially showing promise, the 21-year-old signed during Jose Mourinho’s reign has suffered with injuries and struggled to make the impact it was thought he might.
Jones and Lingard have both been linked with West Ham, who are managed by former United boss David Moyes, although the latter has also been linked with a potential move to Italy given his association with super-agent Mino Raiola.
Smalling is already in Italy on loan with Roma and has impressed in Serie A this season. Roma are thought to be keen on making it a permanent deal but there have been doubts as to whether they could meet an expected £25m valuation.
Rojo had been on loan at Estudiantes until that deal appeared to expire, yet he hasn’t returned.
Sanchez hasn’t thrived on loan at Inter as United had hoped – there was no option to buy inserted into the loan deal because the Old Trafford hierarchy wanted there to be an uncapped buying market for the Chilean if he burst back into life at San Siro. That hasn’t happened.
But there is concern that Sanchez’s enormous wages could be a problem for United in their efforts to get rid of him. The Daily Mail reports that he is refusing to drop his wage demands, which means any interested clubs would have to match the £391,000 basic weekly salary he gets now.
To make matters worse, it is said the player wants to remain in Europe, which could close off avenues to the Middle East or China, where some salaries can be extraordinarily high.
If United cannot find a new club for Sanchez, now undeniably an expensive mistake, they risk being stuck with him for another two years until his contract finally expires in 2022.