United threaten to scrap San­cho deal

Dort­mund urged to lower £108m ask­ing fee for winger Sol­sk­jaer will not over­pay af­ter £150m pan­demic blow

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Ducker NORTH­ERN FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Manch­ester United have warned Borus­sia Dort­mund they are will­ing to walk away from a move for Jadon San­cho un­less the Ger­man club lower their £108 mil­lion de­mands for the Eng­land winger.

un­der­stands that the Covid-19 cri­sis has cost United more than £150mil­lion in lost in­come and ex­pen­di­ture and the club feel Dort­mund’s valu­a­tion of San­cho is un­re­al­is­tic in the cur­rent cli­mate.

A re­cent KPMG Foot­ball Bench­mark re­port es­ti­mated that rev­enue losses in Europe’s big five leagues could ex­ceed £3.6 bil­lion and United are pre­pared to pur­sue al­ter­na­tive tar­gets un­less a rea­son­able com­pro­mise can be reached with Dort­mund.

United have seen some of the prices paid for play­ers this sum­mer – such as Timo Werner’s £47.5mil­lion move from RB Leipzig to Chelsea and Bay­ern Mu­nich’s £55mil­lion cap­ture of Leroy Sane from Manch­ester City – and be­lieve the price tag be­ing put on San­cho does not re­flect a much-changed mar­ket.

San­cho is still United’s No1 sum­mer trans­fer tar­get – man­ager Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s in­ter­est in the 20-year-old dates back more than 18 months – and the club re­main hope­ful of reach­ing an agree­ment. But they are adamant they will not be held to ran­som, with Dort­mund so far re­fus­ing to budge from their ask­ing price.

Con­trary to claims in some quar­ters that a deal is close to be­ing done, the two clubs re­main a con­sid­er­able dis­tance apart in their val­u­a­tions.

With the trans­fer win­dow open un­til Oct 5, United – as re­ported by

The Tele­graph last week – will also not be bound by any ar­ti­fi­cial dead­lines, de­spite Dort­mund’s de­sire for a deal to be done by Mon­day, when they be­gin prepa­ra­tions for next sea­son.

With Alexis Sanchez’s free trans­fer to In­ter Mi­lan likely to be com­pleted to­day – when United face LASK in the sec­ond leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie at Old Traf­ford – a huge drain on the club’s wage bill has been re­moved and a path has been cleared for San­cho to

Yet United have no in­ten­tion of re­peat­ing some of their past mis­takes.

Sanchez’s deal was worth up to £560,000 a week, in­clud­ing bonuses, im­age rights and agents’ fees, but the con­tract desta­bilised United’s wage struc­ture.

Per­sonal terms have yet to be agreed with San­cho and talk of a £340,000-a-week con­tract is out­landish. Agents’ fees are also po­ten­tially a com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor.

Sanchez and United have agreed to ef­fec­tively rip up the re­main­ing two years of his con­tract, which would have been worth as much as £55mil­lion, in re­turn for the Chile striker re­ceiv­ing a pay-off.

Sanchez, 31, who has spent this sea­son on loan at In­ter, has agreed a three-year con­tract with the Ital­ian club worth £6.3 mil­lion an­nu­ally af­ter tax and is due to line up for them against Getafe tonight.

United’s in­ter­est in San­cho aside, Sol­sk­jaer’s hopes of adding more play­ers to his squad this sum­mer are likely to hinge on who he can off­load.

With seven cen­tral de­fend­ers al­ready on United’s books, Sol­sk­jaer knows he must sell play­ers be­fore he can bring in an­other cen­tre-half to pro­vide qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion to his firstchoic­e part­ner­ship of Harry Maguire and Vic­tor Lin­de­lof.

Sol­sk­jaer has con­firmed he is open to giv­ing Chris Smalling a chance to res­ur­rect his Old Traf­ford ca­reer, but the de­fender wants reg­u­lar first-team foot­ball af­ter an im­pres­sive sea­son on loan at Roma.

United will lis­ten to offers for Mar­cos Rojo and Phil Jones and Sol­sk­jaer could yet con­sider al­low­ing an­other in­jury-prone cen­tre­back, Eric Bailly, to go out on loan in search of more reg­u­lar foot­ball.

Axel Tuanzebe has also en­dured an in­jury-plagued cam­paign and is not due back un­til next month.

Luke Shaw is not ex­pected back un­til next month due to an an­kle in­jury, which will mean more op­por­tu­ni­ties for 19-year-old left­back Brandon Wil­liams, who signed a new four-year con­tract with United on Tues­day un­til June 2024, with the op­tion of a fur­ther 12 months.

With a 5-0 first leg ad­van­tage over LASK, United are ex­pected to se­cure a quar­ter-fi­nal spot against Copen­hagen or Is­tan­bul Basak­se­hir. United have been told they will have to stay in Cologne for as long as they re­main in the Europa League knock­out stages, rather than be al­lowed to fly home.

Manch­ester United (prob­a­ble, 4-2-3-1) Romero; Fosu-Men­sah, Maguire, Bailly, Wil­liams; McTom­i­nay, Fred; Mata, Lin­gard, James; Ighalo.

LASK (prob­a­ble, 4-3-3) Sch­lager; Wiesinger, Trauner, Ram­seb­ner, An­drade; Ran­ftl, Mi­chorl, Hol­land; Balic, Raguz, Frieser.

Ref­eree Ta­sos Sidiropou­los (Greece).

Kick-off 8pm. TV BT Sport 1.

Up in the air: Jadon San­cho’s fu­ture is un­cer­tain as United and Dort­mund are locked in talks

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