Jadon Sancho this morning set out on Borussia Dortmund’s pre-season tour of Switzerland.

German outlet Ruhrnachtrichten reported Sancho was the last Dortmund player to return to the club after a break, and cast doubt on whether the club can hold onto him.

Going on Dortmund’s tour does not necessarily mean anything. But it would make him somewhat of a rarity if United do get it done, in comparison to other transfer business conducted by the club over the past four years.

United know what it is like on the other side too. Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian all travelled on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia and China last summer before being moved on.

The Lukaku sale appeared especially inevitable, with United holding out for a big fee from Inter Milan. It took a while, but it got there in the end.

Cambridge United v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly
(Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Not many United signings have made it to pre-season elsewhere

It is fair to question United’s efficiency in the transfer market over the past few years, but one thing the club have been quite good at is getting deals done early.

Harry Maguire was the exception to this. He was the only summer signing made over the past four years who played a pre-season game for another club.

Maguire featured for Leicester City last summer in a win over Cambridge United, in which he scored a header from a corner.

He was then omitted from their final pre-season match against Atalanta before clinching a transfer to United four days later for £80 million, shortly before the deadline.

Prior to that United had signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James in time to join in pre-season.

 

Swift business was conducted a year earlier when deals for Diogo Dalot and Fred were both sealed in the month of June, before bizarrely, the club’s transfer activity ended.

In 2017, United snapped up Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof by early July, and while Nemanja Matic signed in August, he had been left off Chelsea’s tour of China.

United’s splurge in 2016 for Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was all put together efficiently too. The Pogba deal came through only in August, largely due to his involvement with France at Euro 2016, which saw him miss Juventus’ pre-season tour of Australia.

Borussia Dortmund - Training Session
(Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

An unusual summer

This year is of course the most unusual of years due to the global situation which has delayed the 2019/20 season.

United are still completing Europa League obligations, and there will be no money-spinning overseas tours.

This and the October 5 transfer deadline provides an extension to this saga which has been bubbling under for most of 2020.

Maguire’s involvement for Leicester on pre-season last year proves a point that Sancho returning for Dortmund’s tour of Switzerland ultimately means nothing. It is not restrictive to a deal.

It may be a rarity in terms of how United prefer to do business, but this is where we are. The Sancho deal is very much still on.

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