United clos­ing in on San­cho deal

Irish Independent - - Sport - Mike McGrath & James Ducker

MANCH­ESTER United are fi­nal­is­ing the struc­ture of a deal to take Jadon San­cho to Old Traf­ford, in­clud­ing the num­ber of in­stal­ments and add-ons Borus­sia Dort­mund will re­ceive.

Dort­mund want a Premier League record fee of £108m (€120m) for the Eng­land for­ward and have also made it clear they in­tend any deal to be com­pleted be­fore Mon­day so they can fully pre­pare for the Bun­desliga sea­son.

It was re­vealed on March 2 that per­sonal terms be­tween United and San­cho would be straight­for­ward once the clubs agreed a fee. Dis­cus­sions have con­tin­ued but there is yet to be a breakthrou­gh.

It is un­der­stood United are will­ing to be pa­tient in their at­tempt to land Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s top target for the sum­mer win­dow, which is open in Eng­land un­til Oc­to­ber 5. San­cho, 20, has set his sights on a move back to Eng­land af­ter three sea­sons in Ger­many.

Mean­while, Alexis Sanchez could be head­ing back to United af­ter their hopes of selling off the striker to In­ter Mi­lan suf­fered a set­back amid doubts over An­to­nio Conte’s fu­ture.

Conte is on a col­li­sion course with In­ter’s bil­lion­aire Chi­nese own­ers af­ter the coach’s scathing crit­i­cism of the club in the wake of Satur­day’s 2-0 win over Ata­lanta, which se­cured their first top-two fin­ish for nine years.

Sanchez has re­dis­cov­ered his form on loan at In­ter this sea­son and is due to make his fi­nal ap­pear­ance for the Mi­lan club in the sec­ond leg of their Eu­ropa League Round of 16 tie against Getafe to­mor­row be­fore re­turn­ing to Old Traf­ford.

But the prospect of In­ter sign­ing the Chile striker on a per­ma­nent deal this sum­mer has been com­pli­cated by the grow­ing un­cer­tainty around Conte’s po­si­tion.

Ten­sions be­tween Conte and the In­ter hi­er­ar­chy had been steadily build­ing be­fore his out­burst on Satur­day, when he ac­cused the club of be­ing “weak” and of­fer­ing “no pro­tec­tion” to ei­ther him or his play­ers.

Conte said he would need a meet­ing with In­ter pres­i­dent, Steven Zhang, whose fa­ther, Zhang Jin­dong, owns the club.

The costs in­volved in try­ing to sign Sanchez had al­ready made it a dif­fi­cult deal for In­ter to pull off but Conte’s col­li­sion course with In­ter’s own­ers has added more ob­sta­cles. Conte has been a driv­ing force be­hind the de­sire to turn Sanchez’s loan into a per­ma­nent trans­fer. Barcelona have now pulled the plug on a deal for the striker and there are few other clubs who could af­ford him. Manch­ester City have been ten­ta­tively linked but are put off by his €100 mil­lion ask­ing price. Conte has been keen to have Sanchez (pic­tured) avail­able for the lat­ter stages of the Eu­ropa League should his side see off Getafe.

United have been un­will­ing to strengthen the squad of a ri­val for the Eu­ropa League by ex­tend­ing that loan al­though, if In­ter pro­vided as­sur­ances they would then buy Sanchez, that could yet change the pic­ture.

How­ever, the lat­est de­vel­op­ments with Conte have fur­ther clouded the pic­ture at a time when Sanchez’s ba­sic £400,000 (€440,000) a week wages at Old Traf­ford have raised the pos­si­bil­ity of United need­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a pay-off with the player to get him off their books. United are cur­rently con­tribut­ing around £175,000 (€195,000) a week to the cost of Sanchez’s wages at In­ter. (© Daily Tele­graph, Lon­don)

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