After Borussia Dortmund upped the ante over Jadon Sancho this week and said he will be staying, what happened next was entirely predictable.
Firstly United unofficially told Sky Sports the club would not be giving up on the winger.
Then links to alternatives followed. ESPN reported United had touched base with Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele over a possible move, as an alternative.
But this is just not a move we can get excited about right now.
It doesn’t feel genuine
This follows the next move right out of United’s transfer playbook: Create links to alternatives to give the illusion the club have options.
The theory is this makes United look stronger, and may panic Sancho into handing in a transfer request, thinking he may miss out on the switch.
Midway through the Aaron Wan-Bissaka negotiations last summer, United were said to have pivoted to consider Norwich City’s Max Aarons.
Sky Sports reported this shortly after United’s first bid for Wan-Bissaka was rejected.
United did not seem serious about Aarons, and so it proved. A deal for Wan-Bissaka was concluded soon after.
Dembele is an ideal player to fill this void from a headline-creating perspective.
He has star power and he is likely to be available, with Barcelona said by The Express last week to be keen to cash in.
Not enthusiastic about a move
This just feels like a placeholder rumour designed to do a job and kill time.
We could probably talk ourselves into a deal for Dembele. He is a great player if he could stay injury free. Barcelona once paid £135 million for him.
ESPN‘s report suggests United would just be after a loan at first. It would need to be, considering he has not played a competitive game since November due to injuries.
If United are pushed to look at alternatives, which sounds sensible considering Dortmund’s hardline stance, Dembele may not be the best one.
We can address that in more detail if this does turn out to be a more genuine option. At the moment it does not feel that way.
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