Manchester United went into the transfer window with two major objectives over the possible Jadon Sancho deal.
These were a) to sign Sancho and b) not to be held to ransom.
It was possible to achieve both, as United hoped to do. The aim was to barter Dortmund down to around £90 million as opposed to the £108 million the German club wanted.
What most supporters had expected was that United would waste all summer doing this, before paying Dortmund’s asking price anyway.
This is what Ed Woodward did regarding Harry Maguire in 2019, The Guardian reported.
Leicester asked for a fee of around £80 million which United backed away from, tried to lowball, before paying up two days before the transfer deadline.
If United had done this with Sancho the club would have been mocked for caving in once again, even if they ended up signing a special player.
As it is, United achieved the objective of not being held to ransom and caving for the player.
Perhaps they tried at the last minute and Dortmund did not want to know.
Either way, we are left where we are: Without the winger the manager reportedly really wanted, [source Dagbladet,].
What will the impact be?
United wanted to send a message over the Sancho deal, and were reportedly concerned about the impact of paying £108 million on future deals, The Mail reported.
If United caved to Dortmund’s demands, other clubs would expect them to do so in the future. Where would it stop?
This was probably the wrong deal to make a principled stand over.
Sancho most likely is worth the money, unlike the fee paid for Harry Maguire last summer.
What it does mean, however, is that clubs will have to take United more seriously in the future when it comes to negotiating.
The club’s decision not to pay up for Sancho shows United simply will not pay anything to get the players they want.
United also walked away from a move for Jack Grealish as soon as Aston Villa set his price at £80 million.
For years United have paid a premium in the market for targets, not helped by Ed Woodward’s infamous boast, ‘we can do things in the market other clubs only dream of’.
Not paying big money for Sancho could have a positive effect in the future, with clubs fearing United will walk away from negotiations despite fan pressure to do so.
At some point this needed to happen, as hard as it is to take, over a player most supporters had set their hearts on signing.
United may undo this good work by paying over the odds for Sancho next summer. His price is unlikely to drop substantially.
But the club have shown for now, they will not be the weak hand in negotiations which simply caves in and pays the money despite putting up a pretence not to.
United did not get the player, but the club did succeed in accomplishing one of the summer’s objectives, not to pay more than they wanted to for one individual.
Whether accidental from bodged planning and a miscalculation over Dortmund’s stance, or a principled stand from United, the club at least have a new narrative which can be taken into future negotiations and used to the club’s advantage.
This may help United financially, and possibly in the future on the pitch if it enables signings down the line.
It just doesn’t benefit the team this season, and unfortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the failure could be very costly.
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