There was a time when Manchester United and Chelsea fought for it all. Both teams had steel, ruthless managers and financial backing. Now as Sky Sports report, both yearn for Jadon Sancho, England’s Dortmund-based starlet who eyes a Premier League return.

The battle for Sancho is a microcosm of a wider conflict between these two clubs. As much as defeats for both have jeopardized it, they will likely compete for the final top-four spot. He who wins could change the shape of the Premier League landscape.

In the current environment of English and European football, it’s a cause perhaps more important than ever for these sides. The big teams are getting bigger and more successful than ever. Only a few more barren years for United and they will be in danger of exiting that group.

MOSCOW - MAY 21:  Carlos Tevez of Manchester United is challenged by Claude Makelele of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, Russia.  Jadon Sancho.
Manchester United and Chelsea once fought for all the silverware | (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

United and Chelsea both linked with Sancho

The latest focus on Jadon Sancho only sharpens this further. Good planning and effective recruitment from Chelsea mean they’ll be ready. The Blues have clinched a move to sign Ziyech from Ajax, a cheaper alternative. They’ll likely still try their hand at Sancho.

This is really about the top four. Ed Woodward will invariably argue that United have a unique pulling power, and so will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But both will quickly find themselves lamenting the day they were so complacent. Big players do not join clubs outside the Champions League. And when they do, you pay them a fortune.

GUIMARAES, PORTUGAL - JUNE 06:  Marcus Rashford of England celebrates as he scores his team's first goal from a penalty with Jadon Sancho during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between the Netherlands and England at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques on June 06, 2019 in Guimaraes, Portugal.  Manchester United.
(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

So this season is a big one. If it does come down to Chelsea vs United in the battle for Sancho, it may just depend on who finished fourth in the recent season. Maybe it’s not quite that simple with Sancho, but whoever snatches fourth is propelled upwards. They become a club with the potential to challenge Liverpool next season. The other suffers the potential of an extended stay in the periphery.

Liverpool are the real threat and could condemn United to further pain

Is all this the meaningless cries and battle of the small fish, though?

 

The Mail report Liverpool will also be in for Sancho. They want him. They’ve got the money. Dortmund have a good relationship with manager Jurgen Klopp and the club has a recently-signed deal with Nike, Sancho’s sponsor.

Perhaps the ship has already dropped its painter and set sail. United could be left at the harbour and they don’t know it yet. If Sancho joins Liverpool it’s further proof that United no longer have the draw they so arrogantly assume. They need Champions League football.

Chelsea are in a similar scenario, though they have had more success in recent years. The Blues are highly-dependent on the revenues that being in the Champions League brings.

More so than United, but the financial reports of the last few years demonstrate that United are suffering heavily from missing out on Europe’s elite club competition. This season could be the tipping point and Jadon Sancho and his future may epitomize it all.

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