Earlier in the year, Ed Woodward warned it won’t be business as usual this summer, but sadly it’s been a case of déjà vu as United again struggle to secure deals for its main transfer objectives.
United took a while to sign previous main goals Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, but sympathy is already running out as fans naturally grow impatient in the pursuit of Jadon Sancho.
The arrival of the Borussia Dortmund winger would do a lot to allay growing concerns among fans, but even if United sign their main goal this summer, a good number of fans will be hungry for even more to do afterwards.
Alexis Sanchez’s departure is a masterstroke in itself, even if it ultimately left for free, while a new long-term deal for Paul Pogba would rightly be paraded as if it were a new signature. However, maybe the next name on the Sancho list below in terms of newcomers would likely be Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa’s survival in the Premier League appears to be the perfect farewell for the 24-year-old at his childhood club, but there are no signs of any real movement yet.
Given the choice, most United fans would rather see Sancho join Grealish in the coming weeks, but there is a fix that could still see them signing the two.
United have never had net spending over £ 150million in a single summer window and a decision by Sancho would likely be half of such production, if not closer to two-thirds. This means that in the current situation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be unable to attract the two attacking players in the coming weeks, but selling substitute goalkeeper Dean Henderson could change that.
There remains a big debate among fans as to which goalkeeper should receive the No.1 shirt at Old Trafford next season, with supporters torn between declining David de Gea or impressive loaner Henderson. One thing is for sure, neither will want to be at the club unless they start every Premier League and Champions League game.
It was only last week that Solskjaer admitted that it would be difficult to keep the two men, along with Sergio Romero, at the club next season and if Henderson were not to be promoted to first choice next season the reality is that ‘it must be sold.
Another loan could protect his long-term future with the club, but by selling it and including a buyout or first-refusal clause, there would still be a chance of repayment later.
Even after two successful years away from United, promoting Henderson to first choice would still be a risk. Henderson’s progress has not been without mistakes: he has made a few, but they have arrived at a club where expectations are lower.
Instead, there is a fair argument to suggest that United would earn more by selling a backup keeper to fund more investments up front, and receiving substantial compensation for Henderson could hold the key to securing Sancho and a other ready-made first-team player, rather than a fallback option to build team depth.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to Solskjaer’s plans for Henderson, but if he’s not deemed ready to start at Old Trafford next season, United should use their high stock to their advantage.