Manchester United fans will have had a rude awakening when they woke up to the latest transfer gossip over the weekend.
United are yet to make a signing in the summer transfer window and there have been few signs of movement in the three weeks it has been open.
Transfer mind games with Borussia Dortmund continue to drag on in regard to the future of Jadon Sancho, with both clubs seemingly far apart in their valuations of the player and Sancho’s wage demands described by an MEN source as a ‘real issue’. Something will have to give if a deal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priority target is to take place.
MEN Sport reported last week United have still not made a breakthrough in discussions over Sancho’s salary expectations and agent fees, while it is understood the clubs have not even broached the issue of the proposed transfer fee and how any deal might be structured.
The latest suggestion is that United could cancel all plans to pursue Sancho this summer and instead come back at a later date.
After three weeks of the market being open it is simply not good enough in the eyes of many supporters, and this weekend’s Community Shield match between Arsenal and Liverpool is a startling reminder of how close the new season is.
In less than four weeks’ time United will have played their delayed Premier League opener, and Solskjaer is well aware he will need new players in his squad if the gap to Liverpool and City is to even be narrowed, never mind overcome.
It means United are in a rather uncomfortable position right now, and it has presented them with a fresh dilemma in regard to Sancho.
The England international remains United’s top target for the summer window but even if he doesn’t sign United will still need to add an attacking player to their squad before the window closes on 5 October.
United’s dilemma now is whether they sign a short-term fix this summer with the plan to go back in for Sancho at a later date, or do they invest heavily in a replacement and forget about signing the 20-year-old altogether?
It is a situation the club have prepared themselves for already with a strong list of back-up options already being considered as potential alternatives. They range from high-profile names such as Kingsley Coman, to Premier League experience in David Brooks, with bargain buys Rabbi Matondo and Thiago Almada seen as even better value for money this summer.
A player like Brooks could be seen as the perfect stop-gap if United were to move for Sancho at a later date, while the likes of Matondo and Almada would arrive as squad fillers at best. The most intrigue is around those bigger names with United having explored potential loan moves for Douglas Costa and Coman.
It perhaps indicates United should make a play for another top player on a loan deal this summer, and include an option to buy them as an outright Sancho replacement if they were to shine during their time at Old Trafford.
Having tracked Sancho for the last three years there is no way United will give up on him while hope of a deal remains, but with the clock ticking they know a compromise has to be made. Caving into player demands would be the easiest way to solve the transfer saga, but the longer it drags on the less time they have to secure an alternative.