Manchester United’s dream of signing Jadon Sancho in the January transfer window has drawn closer in one respect but suffered a setback in another.
Originally, Borussia Dortmund were adamant that they would not sell the player until the end of the season, but the player’s recent disciplinary problems and deteriorating relationship with head coach Lucien Favre could have softened their stance in that regard, especially if the player himself asks to move on.
According to Bild via The Express, Dortmund have been actively scouting a direct replacement for Sancho in 19-year-old Brazilian striker Antony, currently playing for São Paulo in the Brazilian League.
Are the Germans gearing up to replace Sancho earlier than expected? Maybe, but that might be for all the wrong reasons as far as United are concerned.
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Enter Leroy Sané into the story.
It is not a well-kept secret that Bayern Munich want to sign the Manchester City player, but now Bild claims that Sané himself is pushing for the deal to be done in January.
Sané has resumed training again after surgery following a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained in the Community Shield in August. With a question mark over his long-term future, Pep Guardiola could deem the 23-year-old’s return to the squad disruptive and may be willing to grant his request.
If Sané does leave the Etihad in January, Sancho would be a very natural and obvious replacement. And, according to The Sun, City have indeed thrown their cap into the ring for their former player.
City have a couple of aces up their sleeve when it comes to Sancho. First, they have a 20% buy-back discount, due to a sell-on clause that was included when they sold the player. This would reduce the £100 million fee United would have to pay by £20 million. Second, they are more certain than United to be able to offer Sancho Champions League football next season.
A lot will depend on whether there are any lingering resentments after the manner in which Sancho left the Etihad two and a half years ago, when contract negotiations broke down due to the youngster’s demands for guaranteed playing time.
There is little doubt that the Red Devils will continue to fight tooth-and-nail for Sancho’s signature, but it may have just become a whole lot more difficult, with a move to City having all the hallmarks of Pogba’s 2012 return to Old Trafford about it.