How Jadon Sancho's switch to Manchester United fell apart

Borussia Dortmund held firm on their £108m fee and refused to speak to Manchester United directly while the club feared a repeat of financial mistakes with Alexis Sanchez: How Jadon Sancho’s switch to Old Trafford fell apart (for now!)

  • United’s talks with Dortmund for Jadon Sancho have dragged on for months  
  • Negotiations looked to have hit a wall after United missed a deadline to sign him 
  • Club officials believe passing Dortmund’s August 10 date is not a deal breaker
  • United have been frustrated by an inability to speak with the club directly
  • They remain unwilling to meet Dortmund’s ‘unreasonable’ £108m asking price
  • But United plan to keep pursuing the star despite being told he is not for sale  

Jadon Sancho’s highly-anticipated move to Manchester United looks in tatters after the Red Devils missed Dortmund’s deadline of August 10 to complete a £108million deal for their midfield superstar.

The 20-year-old appeared to be edging closer to joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side next season in the last few weeks, but club officials have been hit by a number of stumbling blocks in getting the deal over the line. 

Sancho is Solskjaer’s priority target to help transform United into title contenders but their efforts to get their man have been anything but straightforward. The England international began his career with Manchester City but left in an £8m deal in 2017 to join Dortmund – who now look to make a staggering profit as they continue to play hardball with United officials.

Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United is on the rocks after missing Dortmund’s deadline

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made the winger his No 1 target for next season 

Solskjaer had earmarked the winger as the ideal signing to fill the void at right midfield. Sancho has emerged as one of the best talents in the world over the last few years and showed his quality once again this term by scoring 20 goals and providing 18 assists. 

But when the coronavirus pandemic halted football worldwide in March a deal to bring him to Manchester seemed nigh-on impossible amid increasing financial uncertainty. 

Towards the end of June Dortmund set their price for Sancho, stressing that he would not be sold for any less than £100m. Club chief Hans-Joachim Watzke sent out a warning to interested parties and said he believed no side would be able to afford their asking price during the crisis.

Sancho is keen on a move to Old Trafford after they secured Champions League football 

Watzke said: ‘If Jadon approaches us and says he wants to leave no matter what, which did not happen until now, and a club wants to spend what we demand, we will discuss it.

‘But I don’t think there will be a club that pays the fee we want.’

United were said to have baulked at that eye-watering fee and were only willing to part with around £60m to secure his signature.

Moving into early July, Dortmund became irked by United’s failure to meet their demands and set a deadline for them to finish the deal. Reports from German outlet Bild claimed they had been told to wrap up the move by August 10 or forget about signing him. 

Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke said no club would be able to afford their asking price for the player after insisting they would not accept anything less than £100m

Dortmund were keen to ensure they remained in the driving seat in negotiations and that the future of the player was resolved swiftly one way or another. 

From Sancho’s standpoint, he remained keen to link up with United but only if they were able to secure Champions League for the following season – with the Premier League restart still ongoing at that time. Failure to secure elite European football would have been a massive blow with the possibility of losing £25m in sponsorship deals in addition to missing out on Sancho. 

Luckily for United, the team overcame Leicester City in the race for a top four spot – beating the Foxes 2-0 on July 26 – the Premier League’s final day – laying the path clear for Sancho’s arrival. 

Yet the club remained incredibly frustrated in negotiations with their German counterparts. With talks dragging on and Dortmund’s deadline looming, Sportsmail understands United were denied the chance to speak directly with the club – instead being forced to to deal with intermediaries.

United officials, led by CEO Ed Woodward, have been frustrated by the slow pace of talks over Sancho and have no been allowed to speak directly with Dortmund 

Sancho’s agents Emeka Obasi and Marco Lichtsteiner, brother of former Arsenal star Stephan, were left to hold talks but still United failed to make headway. The two parties remained some way apart while sources dismissed reports from Germany that United had an improved offer of £89m rebuffed. 

Dortmund were now seeking a £108m fee but United refused to give in – even with the added financial power of qualifying for the Champions League. Considering Chelsea were able to sign Leipzig’s Timo Werner for £53m and Bayern securing Leroy Sane for around £54m, the club were unwilling to pay double that price to land a player with less than two years left on his contract.

And there was little progress on personal terms or agents fee either. With Alexis Sanchez on his way out the door after two torturous years of under-performing while earning £560,000-a-week, United were reluctant to make the same mistakes by handing out astronomical wages to Sancho, who currently earns £190,000-a-week at Signal Iduna Park. 

The club are wary of repeating past mistakes with Sancho after handing Alexis Sanchez wages of £560,000 a week as he failed to live up to the billing

At the start of this month, there appeared to be some light at the end of the tunnel. United’s negotiators were on the verge of agreeing personal terms with Sancho on a five-year deal with a reported salary of £340,000 a week. It left only the structure of the £108m fee to be thrashed out with Dortmund. 

But with less than a week until their August 10 deadline, when the club were due to head out to Switzerland for their pre-season training camp, United were running out of time. With both clubs remaining divided, the Red Devils threatened to walk away from the deal entirely because they believed the German outfit were being ‘unrealistic’ in their valuation given the economic climate.

United had been compiling a list of alternatives if they could not pull off the deal – including Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman and Juventus star Douglas Costa. While they remained keen on Sancho, they refused to allow Dortmund to dictate proceedings and to be held to their ‘artificial’ deadline.

Sancho looked in good spirits at Dortmund training session as the club’s deadline loomed 

He raised hopes he would sign after being spotted at a party with rappers Krept and Konan

Just four days before jetting off to Switzerland, Sancho was spotted at a training session ahead of the new Bundesliga, appearing to be in good spirits despite being the centre of the biggest tug of wars in recent transfer memory. 

With United looking unlikely to hit the deadline, reports from German media claimed Dortmund were ready to offer him a new deal with a sizeable salary rise. His appearance at a London party hosted by rap duo Krept and Konan gave hope to United fans that he might be close to securing a deal – but he boarded the plane to Switzerland the following day. 

It’s understood United supremo Ed Woodward does not see the missed deadline as a deal breaker, but it certainly makes his job much more challenging as Dortmund press ahead with plans for the new campaign. 

United remain confident they will get the signing confirmed, with the main points of difference being the total fee itself and the structure of the deal in terms of bonus payments. 

Sporting director Michael Zorc insisted their decision to keep Sancho next season was ‘final’

 The England star arrives at the airport with his team-mates ahead of their pre-season tour

Dortmund trolled United by tweeting a photo of Sancho with the caption ‘You love to see it’

But this week Dortmund put their foot down. Not only did the club’s social media team take the opportunity to troll United by posting a picture of a smiling Sancho in training with the caption ‘you love to see it’, sporting director Michael Zorc said their decision on the player was ‘final’ and that he would not be sold. 

‘We plan with Jadon Sancho,’ he said. ‘He’ll play for us next season. The decision is final. I think that answers all of the questions.’

But United aren’t giving up in their pursuit. The club are aware that Dortmund are willing to sell, have lined up replacements and that Sancho wants to make the move to Old Trafford. 

We have seen the club take it to the final day of the window to sign Bruno Fernandes in negotiations with Sporting Lisbon that dragged on for months. That deal also broke down in Jannuary before a £68m agreement was finally reached. This saga should rage on a while longer yet.

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