Manchester United seem to be finally getting the upper hand in their Jadon Sancho transfer pursuit, but the door to Erling Haaland is also opening wider.
Sancho was the Red Devils’ main target last summer but they failed to start negotiations before Borussia Dortmund’s deadline and were, in any case, never going to approach the €120 million that the Bundesliga club were demanding.
We reported here last week that United have now put their plans to sign the winger on hold as they are pleased with the progress of Mason Greenwood and Amad Diallo in that position.
And now, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke appears to be trying to lure them back in again by dangling a carrot about his club’s need to sell players.
‘The money that we are losing at the moment we will not be able to regain anytime soon,’ Watzke told Handelsblatt.
‘I reckon that it will take at least five years to reach the status quo before the corona crisis in terms of liabilities.
When asked specifically if the club would need to sell players to reduce their debt, Watzke admitted it might be possible.
‘In the midst of a pandemic, I am now ruling nothing out,’ he said.
‘But it is not necessarily the aim. The most important thing is the financial balance: that we have a strong team on the field and at the same time are economically stable.
‘If we’re going to play the entire next season without spectators, we must certainly think about giving up a player. Asking banks for credit lines just to avoid selling a player is not going to be our way.’
The comments could equally be applied to another United target, Erling Haaland. The Norwegian prodigy has a €75 million (£65m) release clause that comes into effect in June 2022. Dortmund know that their prize asset is worth much more than that – Transfermarkt’s value is €110 million (£95m) – so a question arises as to how much one extra season of Haaland’s goals are worth to Dortmund.
Watzke’s words suggest that the club may be prepared to sell him this summer if the right offer comes along and logically, anything in excess of that £95 million would surely be considered.
According to The Mail, ‘it has been claimed Sancho’s asking price now stands at £88m’, but in the current climate is would seem likely that United would be looking to pay significantly less than this, even though they were reportedly willing to pay around £90 last summer.
Watzke’s Handelsblatt interview is the clearest indication yet that one of the two players will be sold this summer. Whether it turns out to be Sancho or Haaland remains to be seen, and could also depend a lot on Manchester United and how much they are prepared to pay for each.
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