Dort­mund in­sist San­cho is stay­ing put but hope re­mains at Old Traf­ford

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By James Ducker

The high-stakes poker game be­tween Manch­ester United and Borussia Dort­mund over Jadon San­cho took an­other twist yes­ter­day when the Bun­desliga side claimed the Eng­land winger would re­main with the club next sea­son.

San­cho flew to the Swiss spa town of Bad Ragaz with his Dort­mund team-mates for the start of a pre-sea­son train­ing camp yes­ter­day morn­ing af­ter an ar­ti­fi­cial dead­line for United to com­plete a deal passed with talks still at an im­passe.

The Daily Tele­graph un­der­stands that Dort­mund have in­sisted that all ne­go­ti­a­tions are done through two in­ter­me­di­aries – San­cho’s agent, Emeka Obasi, and Marco Licht­steiner, brother of the former Arse­nal de­fender, Stephan – and United are known to have be­come frus­trated by the slow pace of the dis­cus­sions. It means there has been lit­tle di­rect con­tact be­tween the clubs dur­ing what threat­ens to be­come an in­creas­ingly pro­tracted process.

Dort­mund pre­vi­ously en­listed Licht­steiner to work on the sales of Ous­mane Dem­bele to Barcelona and Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang to Arse­nal.

The sit­u­a­tion could yet ac­cel­er­ate quickly if one side back down or a com­pro­mise is reached but Dort­mund, so far at least, are re­fus­ing to budge from their €120 mil­lion (£108 mil­lion) val­u­a­tion and, cru­cially, want a much larger up­front fee than United are of­fer­ing.

Other com­pli­cat­ing fac­tors are the agents’ fees and the salary be­ing de­manded by San­cho.

Con­trary to some re­ports, per­sonal terms have still to be agreed and United are de­ter­mined not to re­peat past mis­takes hav­ing only just man­aged to re­move Alexis Sanchez’s £420,000-a-week wages, ex­clud­ing bonuses, from the bill fol­low­ing his free trans­fer to In­ter Mi­lan last week.

There is lit­tle ex­pec­ta­tion, for ex­am­ple, of San­cho be­ing given a con­tract worth more than Mar­cus Rash­ford’s deal, which is a ba­sic £200,000 a week that could rise to more than £300,000 a week with bonuses and im­age rights. Michael Zorc, Dort­mund’s sport­ing di­rec­tor, re­vealed yes­ter­day that Dort­mund had ex­tended San­cho’s con­tract by an ex­tra year last sum­mer to June 2023 when the player was given a pay rise which, in the­ory, would re­duce the need to sell this sum­mer.

How­ever, it is thought within United cir­cles that Dort­mund’s £50 mil­lion out­lay on Nor­way striker Er­ling Haa­land and mid­fielder Jude Belling­ham, and their con­sid­er­able com­mit­ment to both play­ers in wages, this year has in­creased the pres­sure to sell San­cho, par­tic­u­larly given the ad­di­tional im­pact on fi­nances caused by the Covid-19 cri­sis.

Pri­vately, Dort­mund dis­pute this but the club’s model re­volves around buy­ing young and rel­a­tively cheap and sell­ing at the op­ti­mum point and Zorc’s claims at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day af­ter­noon that San­cho “will play for us next sea­son” and that “the de­ci­sion is fi­nal” are likely to be taken with a pinch of salt.

In June 2017, Zorc said Dem­bele was “go­ing to be play­ing for Dort­mund in the com­ing sea­son” as he poured cold wa­ter on the prospect of the winger join­ing Barcelona but, two months later, the French­man com­pleted a pro­jected £135 mil­lion move to the Nou Camp.

And last year, Aubameyang re­acted to in­sin­u­a­tions from the Dort­mund chief ex­ec­u­tive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, that he had joined Arse­nal for the money in Jan­uary 2018 by tweet­ing: “Bet­ter for you I never talk about why I re­ally left Dort­mund Mr Watzke you such a clown I re­mem­ber that time you said we never gonna sell Ous­mane then you saw more than 100M you were the first to take that money don’t talk about money please!!!”

In de­mand: Jadon San­cho has flown to Switzer­land for Borussia Dort­mund’s pre-sea­son camp as talks over his trans­fer stall

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