Many supporters had hoped for an official announcement by now with United’s place in the Champions League for next season well assured prior to Dortmund’s self-imposed deadline two days ago.
The saga, as expected, has resembled a long drawn-out tennis rally as both clubs look to take the upper hand and stay in control of the growing uncertainty.
United were never fazed by Dortmund’s tactics to rush a deal and put the ball back in the German club’s court by refusing to give into demands as quickly as they had wanted. Michael Zorc’s comments that Sancho will play for the club next season are the latest break of serve.
Despite the noise from Dortmund United have not given up on signing the 20-year-old, although they remain frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations through the agent Marco Lichtsteiner.
Zorc might have been brave by insisting Sancho will be at Signal Iduna Park again next season, but if United were to now meet Dortmund’s initial demands there is no belief a deal would be rejected.
In the worst case scenario it seems United would just have to break their club record fee in order to get the England international this summer, wasting weeks of negotiations by eventually caving into demands which were made clear before the season had even ended.
Instead the big question seems to be one of time, and just how long United decide to entertain such tedious transfer talks before eventually giving Dortmund what they way, or even walking away with their pride somewhat in tact.
Sources in Germany say Dortmund want to ‘own the story’, and the latest developments certainly highlight that belief. United never had any intentions of crumbling under the self-imposed transfer deadline of Monday 10 August, with senior clubs officials labelling it as ‘meaningless’ and ‘artificial’ since the summer transfer window actually closes on October 5.
The only thing which is certain is that United do have just under two months to complete a deal under Fifa’s own transfer market deadline, but just how long they entertain a slow-burning saga remains to be seen.
In each of the last transfer windows United have failed to secure moves for their targets quickly, and the club can hardly afford the same scenario which saw them sign Harry Maguire so late in the summer a year ago.
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If indeed United were to eventually opt against a move for Sancho then they might not have time to sign a replacement, nor might any of their back-up options be available with the likes of Kai Havertz, Kinglsey Coman and David Brooks all attracting interest elsewhere.
Ed Woodward now needs to respond to Zorc’s latest transfer tactic, and United might need to play Dortmund at their own game by imposing a vague transfer deadline.
There is no illusion Sancho remains the top target, but they can’t wait around for him all summer. Something has to give.