In these strange times, one semblance of normality for Manchester United fans has been that new stories about our club have hit the media with the same regularity. Last night, there was a story, which ran in the Daily Mirror (I know…) which went with the worrying headline for United fans that the club have put the brakes on a bid for Jadon Sancho due to the effects of COVID-19.
Then, lo and behold in typical tabloid fashion, now the clickbait headline has dragged you into the article, the first line immediately downplays the tone of the headline by stating that United ‘might’ have to wait another 12 months to sign Sancho.
Classic… This was from their chief football writer John Cross, as well. Poor play, really.
Our understanding at Stretty News is that Sancho firmly remains United’s priority this summer and this has also been backed up by credible sources, including transfer don Fabrizio Romano, in the interview he gave to The United Stand last week. The Italian confirmed that United are ‘in love with Sancho’ and talks have been happening for months.
It is a widely held view that United are among a select pool of clubs who could potentially come out of COVID-19 relatively unscathed from the financial losses many clubs are likely to have already suffered. Romano also highlighted that Dortmund would also be looking for a fee in the region of 100 million euros, which would come close to matching United’s record fee to buy Paul Pogba from Juventus.
Even the pre-COVID transfer market dictated that United would be looking at a figure in that region, and I’m sure the majority of United fans would acknowledge that late £80 millions for Sancho would be a great deal for both clubs.
United have been hellbent in their stance that they are firmly behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rebuild and I would be aghast if they tightened the purse strings to avoid public shaming. The big picture, from a purely footballing perspective, is that United could be in a real position of strength once the time is right for another transfer window.
Firstly, and critically, we need to know the lay of the land before transfers take place, so any story about transfers happening or, in the Mirror’s crass words, ‘putting the brakes on’ is nothing more than wild speculation currently.
Another piece of wild speculation emerging last night about Sancho came from the excellent Beyond the Pitch podcast, hosted by a friend of Stretty News Phil Brown. His guest last night was the esteemed ESPN journalist, Gabriele Marcotti.
The Italian’s words created a furore across various popular United Twitter accounts, which was absolutely unjust as Marcotti’s words were twisted: Marcotti stated that it was his belief that Sancho will go to whom offers the ‘best package’. This was immediately interpreted as financial only, leading to outrageous accusations that Sancho is a mercenary. We are talking about the same player here who could easily have sat on City’s bench a la Phil Foden and pick up his pay packet, but no.. he made a bold choice in upping sticks at the tender age of 17 to go to Germany to further his career.
Sancho will choose where he feels he can further his career, not be dictated by the biggest pay check. By ‘package’, Marcotti meant, as I have reported in my previous Rowlesy’s Ramblings, that Sancho will weigh up the totality of the evidence each projects presents him. For instance, United will offer good money, the number 7 shirt, the chance to be part of a mouthwatering trio alongside Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and a guaranteed berth on the right wing. Commerically, Sancho will be shown off and be held in similar regard to the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, who let’s say are well versed in social media.
So, to clear the air, Jadon Sancho is no mercenary and it will not be a primary factor in his decision making.
To finish, Marcotti’s words were twisted further when he was asked where he saw Sancho playing next season. The furore surrounds that Chelsea have supposedly now been given a boost from the following comments. His exact words were, ‘I’ve been told Sancho would prefer a move back home, in other words to London, where he grew up’.
Now then, these outlets would prefer to go down the ‘there’s been a twist in the Sancho rumours and Chelsea have now emerged’ and that’s their prerogative. However, it fails to mention that Marcotti added more to that statement, as follows: ‘But equally I’m sure he prefers to move to whoever offers the best package and best long-term prospects’.
But that doesn’t draw a good headline, does it?
So, everyone just needs to take a step back here and not get drawn into every single transfer rumour and the bluster it creates. Words are being twisted go keep generating news with the lack of matches to report on.
Be clear on this, Manchester United firmly have Jadon Sancho in their sights.