Manchester United could be lining up an alternative to Jadon Sancho on the right wing.
It was widely reported that Sancho was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top transfer target last summer, but Borussia Dortmund’s €120 million (£105m) price tag and August negotiation deadline proved too rich for United’s blood.
The Red Devils signed two 18-year-olds, Facu Pellistri and Amad Diallo, instead on deadline day, but neither has yet played for the senior side and a slightly more established player must still be very much on Solskjaer’s mind.
One player who fits the bill in that regard is Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Golçalves, known as ‘Pote’.
Sporting bought Pote from Famalicão in the summer with part of the proceeds from the sale of Bruno Fernandes and his form for the Lions has caught the attention of a number of clubs, including United, according to Record (via Sport Witness). The outlet claims he ‘has already been informally starred by Liverpool and Man United this January, who remain very interested’ but that ‘at the time, Sporting did not wish to open negotiations.’
The 22-year-old, who operates both as a right winger and attacking midfielder, has scored 14 goals and provided two assists in 15 games for Sporting so far this term. Record points out that his 14 goals came from just 23 shots, which is an impressive strike rate to say the least.
Sporting are already saying they will hold firm on Pote’s €60 million (£52 million) buyout clause, in part because his contract includes a whopping 50% sell-on fee to his former club. That might be the deal breaker should United wish to go ahead, although it still represents a big saving compared to Sancho, even though the latter’s price has now reportedly been cut to €100 million (£88m).
A lot could also depend on how the season plays out in Portugal; Gonçalves has helped Sporting to open up a five point lead at the top of the league, with a game in hand over Porto. If they win the league they will automatically qualify for the Champions League, which will be a huge financial boost for them.
Whilst Pote joined Sporting after Bruno left, the United man retains strong connections at the Alvalade and he will no doubt be influential in both evaluating the player and in negotiations.
United have enjoyed great success when shopping at Sporting, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcos Rojo and Nani all having followed the path from Lisbon to Old Trafford. If Pote continues the form he is showing, it would not be a surprise if he was to be the next.
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