Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has emphatically ruled out a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, leaving neighbour Manchester United the last man standing in the race to sign him.
The talented 20-year-old is currently Manchester United’s top transfer target, having scored an incredible 20 goals and provided 20 assists in 42 games this season.
It was already known that Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid, the other main competitors for his signature, had pulled out of the race due to his hefty price tag.
However, doubts lingered over whether City would exercise their buy-back option, which gives them first refusal to sign him if they match any offer that Dortmund accepts.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Citizens’ winger Leroy Sané is moving to Bayern Munich and this refuelled speculation that United’s rivals would scupper their move for Sancho as he is an obvious like-for-like replacement for the German.
But in yesterday’s pre-match press conference ahead of their match against Liverpool, manager Pep Guardiola stated in no uncertain terms that they would not hijack United’s transfer deal.
‘He decided to leave, why should he come back?,’ he said.
‘When he decided to move to Dortmund it’s not that he’s going to come back. It would make no sense. If he wanted to leave, I’d say he doesn’t want to come back.
‘It’s part of the process, we’d like to stay with the players of the last 10 years to be eternal but we grow in years and we have to replace them with new players.’
The words will come as welcome news for United fans and means that the only stumbling block to getting their man is the transfer fee, with the two clubs significantly apart in their valuations.
Some wild figures have been bandied about in reports, with some suggesting that Dortmund are asking for £130 million for the player and that United have set an upper limit of £50 million.
More reliable sources have put the asking price at around £90 million (€100m) and have dismissed the reports of United’s £50 million maximum.
In reality, the Red Devils will almost certainly have to stump up a package worth up to £90 million but how much of that is made up of the flat fee portion and how much is bonuses will be the key to negotiating a deal.
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