But the question for Manchester United has to be how much they need Sancho compared to other areas of the squad that also require investment.
The Sancho saga dominated last summer’s transfer window and it may not be over yet. United might find it both easier and cheaper to strike a deal this summer, although Borussia Dortmund’s likely return to the Champions League, having flirted with a fifth or sixth place in the Bundesliga, will embolden the German side.
Sancho wants a move, however, and with another year ticked off his contract, Dortmund will accept that they cannot demand the € 120million in fees they were so set a year ago. There has been a feeling that the 20-year-old hasn’t been as good this season, but he’s in good shape at the right time.
His brace in the DFB Pokal final against RB Leipzig on Thursday brought him to 17 goals for the season and he has scored four against Leipzig in the space of a week.
But United have their own boyish wonder on the right at the moment and while every manager will want a rotating cast of top-notch forwards, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must tackle other issues as well.
Signing Sancho would put him in competition with Mason Greenwood, who seems unlikely to stray from the right at the moment. Last month Solskjaer said he was still “a few years away” from becoming a center-forward.
This deal could add impressive depth to the ranks of the United States, but how much of an advantage it would be if other positions were not strengthened is questionable.
Harry Maguire’s absence last week once again highlighted the need for another class central defender. Maguire became the leader of the defense and without him they looked nervous. United can’t run the risk of a Victor Lindelof-Eric Bailly axis next season if Maguire gets injured, as both are clearly better alongside England’s center-back.
Maguire’s leadership skills were largely missed against Leicester City and Liverpool and these successive defeats at Old Trafford should have increased the need to recruit another top center-back.
That might not be the only problem for United, however. Solskjaer placed great faith in the midfielder partnership between Fred and Scott McTominay, but as United tried to play from behind on Thursday they were regularly under pressure from the aggressive press from Liverpool. It was a test that Fred, in particular, failed to pass.
The Brazilian has regularly put his own side in trouble and his pass under pressure remains a weakness, amplified by Solskjaer’s understandable desire to build his team from behind. With Nemanja Matic turning 33 before the start of next season, there is an argument that the time may have come to sign a new defensive midfielder, someone like Declan Rice who has shone for West Ham this season. .
Rice has always been a great defensive midfielder, but he has shown a more progressive side to his game this season, thanks to his range of passing and ability to move forward from a distance. He could be a good fit for United.
Given the effect the pandemic continues to have on earnings, United will struggle to fund a move for Sancho and two other first-team players. While Sancho would be the signing that would be the most exciting, it isn’t necessarily the deal that should be high on the to-do list.