Others mistakenly believed that the mask had slipped with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s phraseology on Sky Sports last week. Solskjaer said United would “tap” the transfer market every time the summer window opened, which was only an honest view of some players.
For example, Jadon Sancho’s action is increasing and its value is moving in the opposite direction. Sancho, 20, is about to enter the final two years of his contract with Borussia Dortmund and his employers have almost conceded defeat by keeping him for a fourth season. The CIES Football Observatory valued Sancho at 150 million euros a year ago and the best part of 50 million euros has been wiped out.
Jack Grealish’s assessment is heavily dependent on whether Aston Villa will emerge from the relegation quagmire. Regardless of whether Villa manages to stay put, they will likely need significant income sooner rather than later after extravagant spending last summer and months without receipts. To invent one of Ed Woodward’s former favorites while discussing the deals, Grealish should already be on the fairway.
United attempted to reach a deal for Grealish in February and has reportedly refused an opening approach. Competition will be more intense for Sancho, but United can afford to chase rivals out of the water, no matter what European competition they will be in next season.
Provided that United manages its affairs with as much skill as in the last two windows, the reconstitution of its team should be completed by the start of the 2020-2021 campaign. Their preference is for three entrances and three exits, although high-level sources have given themselves some leeway in pointing out that there could be more departures in the midst of the club’s commitment to promoting alumni. ‘academy.
Realistically, not all Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Andreas Pereira, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard will be sold by the end of the summer. Solskjaer has already sanctioned the departures of nine players permanently or on loan and three of the above are currently on loan in Italy and Argentina.
Smalling’s good form for Roma – and the mutual desire of the player and the club to make his stay permanent – should make his sales routine as long as United receives an acceptable offer. Smalling is 30 and still has two years on his contract with United, but is on an upward curve and had to be called up by the England team for last month’s internationals. United paid £ 10 million for Smalling 10 years ago and may demand a similar figure.
Jones, under contract to United until 2023, is more difficult to change after seven starts and Rojo, 30, subject to injuries, may have to be released when his contract expires next year. Lingard’s contract is also up in 2021 and the one-year extension available for United is insignificant, considering Lingard’s abject form since the 2018 World Cup. United was looking for buyers for the leather-trimmed Sanchez.
If United were to give in and let Paul Pogba start a “new challenge elsewhere”, then that could punish Pereira, harmless in rotation. United tried and failed to recruit a deep midfielder to Sean Longstaff last summer and needs quality reinforcement every time Pogba surrenders. The 19-year-old boys James Garner and Dylan Levitt are expected to go on loan next time.
Two of Sancho, Grealish and James Maddison would reinforce a galvanized attack by Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford being necessarily available every time United played. Now that Tahith Chong has signed up, he too must regularly lend playing time and Angel Gomes would get a similar arrangement if he accepted a new contract. Odion Ighalo could provide short-term support until the young bloom.
United protected Dean Henderson’s future with a new three-year deal last summer – with the option of an additional year. It would be advisable to sanction another loan season with Sheffield United or another booming Premier League club until 2021, when Sergio Romero could be sacked at the age of 34. United has corpses in reserve following the recent acquisition of Nathan Bishop from Southend United and the one-year extension of Lee Grant.
Possible United team 2020-2021
Goalkeepers: By Gea, Romero, Grant
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams
Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Fred, Nemanja Matic, new midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, Andreas Pereira
Forwards: Juan Mata, new playmaker, new wingman, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Odion Ighalo