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Reds ready to walk away

United won't be held to ransom over Dortmund's 'unrealistic' fee for Sancho


MUCH TO PONDER: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

MUCH TO PONDER: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

WINNER: Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring his side's second goal last night

WINNER: Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring his side's second goal last night


MUCH TO PONDER: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Jadon Sancho is Manchester United's priority target in the transfer window but there is frustration at Old Trafford at reports emerging from Germany.

United are prepared to walk away from a deal for Sancho due to Borussia Dortmund's "unrealistic" asking price.

It's understood Old Trafford's top brass have not agreed personal terms with Sancho's representatives or a fee with Dortmund, who are believed to be holding out for £108m (€119m).

Senior United sources believe Dortmund's August 10 deadline to sign Sancho is "meaningless" and described it as "artificial" since the transfer window closes on October 5.

United are conscious of Sancho's wage expectations following the fallout from Alexis Sanchez's salary - which caused friction in the squad -and are adamant the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is 'very real'.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are understood to have felt resentment towards Sanchez's £400,000-a-week net wages and the former has not signed an improved contract since he joined United for a world record £89m in 2016.

A United source said "high wages are not good for the dressing-room" morale and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to maintain a harmonious environment with or without Sancho.

As it stands, United are in the process of selling Sanchez permanently to Inter Milan.

The Red Devils are frustrated by inaccurate reports emanating from Germany that they have agreed terms with Sancho.

United sources have described Sancho's wage expectations as a "real situation", with the England international currently on around £75,000-a-week at Dortmund.

If a move for Sancho fails to materialise, the Premier League club are prepared to look to alternatives amid interest in Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo and Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman. United view the right wing as a priority position to strengthen and only signed Daniel James last year after they failed with a move for Sancho.

Despite frustration over the "noise" in Germany, United expressed similar misgivings over Sporting Lisbon's demands for Bruno Fernandes in January before they negotiated an overall fee of £68m.

The next concern for Solskjaer is that when -and if - Sancho signs for United, who will they turn to next?

There are compelling cases for another forward, a defensive midfielder amid Nemanja Matic's fatigue or a centre half following an unconvincing campaign from Victor Lindelof and underwhelming alternatives.

The Reds are banking on Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe spending more time on the Carrington training pitches than in the medical centre if they are to exert pressure on Lindelof. Bailly has, in fairness, missed only one match since he returned from a knee ligament injury and that was caused by a collision with Harry Maguire in the FA Cup semi-final.

When United budgeted for the summer, prior to football's hiatus as a result of the global pandemic, it was with the intention of acquiring two forwards.

They attempted to set up the framework of a £65m (€71m) deal for Jack Grealish, which Aston Villa scoffed at, unwilling to converse while they were scrapping to avoid relegation.

Villa's survival and Grealish's talismanic end to the season has added millions to his valuation and £80m (€88m) is a fair asking price for a 24-year-old forward who is the captain of a Premier League club and has aspirations to play for England.

The irony is United deemed Grealish more attainable than James Maddison, also rated at around £80m, due to the possibility of Villa's relegation and probability of Leicester securing Champions League football.

As it turns out, Leicester will be in the Europa League - partly because of Maddison's hip injury - and United have gone so cold on the 23-year-old he has accepted Leicester's offer of an improved contract.