It’s hardly been the start to the summer transfer window which many Manchester United fans had dreamt of following their qualification for the Champions League.
United’s third-place finish in the Premier League secured them a passage back into Europe’s top club competition, ensured they didn’t miss out on £23million in adidas sponsorship money and allowed them to pursue their top targets this summer.
Earlier in the year Ed Woodward warned it would not be business as usual this summer, but sadly it has been a case of deja vu as United again struggle to conclude deals for their top transfer targets.
United took an age to sign previous top targets Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, but sympathy is already wearing thin as fans understandably grow impatient in the pursuit of Jadon Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund winger’s arrival would do plenty to appease growing fan concerns, but even if United do sign their top target this summer there will be a fair amount of supporters hungry for even more business to be done afterwards.
The departure of Alexis Sanchez is a masterstroke in itself, even if he eventually left for free, while a new long-term deal for Paul Pogba would rightfully be paraded as if it were a new signing. However, perhaps the next name on the list below Sancho in terms of new arrivals would probably be that of Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa’s survival in the Premier League looks to be the perfect farewell for the 24-year-old at his boyhood club, but there is no sign of any real movement yet.
Given the choice most United fans would rather see Sancho join over Grealish in the coming weeks, but there is a solution which could yet see them sign both.
United have never had a net spend above £150million in a single summer window and a move for Sancho would likely account for half of such an output, if not closer to two thirds. It means that in the current situation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be unable to lure both attacking players in the next few weeks, but selling back-up goalkeeper Dean Henderson could change everything.
It remains a great debate among fans in regards to which goalkeeper should be given the No.1 shirt at Old Trafford next season, with supporters torn between the declining David de Gea or the impressive loanee Henderson. One thing is for sure, neither will want to be at the club unless they are starting every Premier League and Champions League match.
Only last week Solskjaer admitted it would be hard to keep both men, along with Sergio Romero, at the club next season and if Henderson is not going to be promoted to first-choice next season then the reality is he must be sold.
Another loan might protect his long-term future with the club, but by selling him and including either a buyback or first refusal clause there would still be some chance of redemption further down the line.
Even after two successful years away from United, promoting Henderson to first choice would still represent something of a risk. Henderson’s progress hasn’t come without mistakes: he has made a few, but they have come at a club where the expectations are lower.
Instead there is fair argument to suggest United would gain more by selling a back-up keeper to fund further investment up front, and receiving a substantial fee for Henderson could hold the key to securing Sancho and another ready made first-team player, rather than a back-up option to bolster squad depth.
Ultimately the decision comes down to Solskjaer’s own plans for Henderson, but if he is not deemed ready to start for at Old Trafford next season then United should use his high stock to their advantage.