It’s now the ninth of September. The international break is over, the Premier League season starts in three days – though for Manchester United it’s not for another 10 – and Jadon Sancho still hasn’t signed.
That last part has been the cause of frustration for United fans all summer. Why can’t they just get the deal done? Jadon Sancho is our #1 target, he’s keen on the move, and the club keeps screaming from mountaintops that they have tons of money – just spend it.
The reality of the situation was this deal was never going to happen before the conclusion of the September international break. It just didn’t make sense for any of the three parties involved.
For Borussia Dortmund, they don’t want to appear bullied. They know they’re a selling club, everyone knows that, but they can’t just give off the appearance that their players are ripe for the taking. They’re going to say things like “Sancho is part of our plans for this season,” hold their ground to the last minute, and probably make Sancho submit a transfer request just so they can turn around and say “we only sold because the player wanted to leave.”
It’s the exact same playbook they used for Ousmane Dembele. I still expect Sancho to be in Dortmund’s XI when they take on Duisburg in the DFB Cup on Monday just to give off even more of an impression that they plan on keeping him and try to force him to submit a transfer request.
The reality is BVB have been preparing for Sancho’s departure since January. They promoted Gio Reyna to the first team back in January and teenage sensation Youssoufa Moukoko is being tipped to join the first team this season once he becomes eligible for the Bundesliga in November.
Sancho only started four of Borussia Dortmund’s nine matches post lockdown.
The places in the table of the opponents Sancho started against? 18, 9, 15, 16
The places in the table of the opponents Sancho didn’t start against? 6, 6, 1, 3, 7
Certainly looks like a team preparing for life after Sancho.
Why do Borussia Dortmund want Sancho to hand in a transfer request? Money of course. That’s the whole thing with this whole thing.
Like everyone else, Sancho has several different bonuses in his contract (performance bonuses, loyalty bonuses, signing on bonuses etc). Some of those get paid on a certain date, some don’t get paid until the start of the season. Considering that the season is starting later due to COVID, it’s unclear what the status of those bonuses is.
But if they haven’t been paid, by handing in a transfer request Sancho would have to forfeit those loyalty bonuses that are owed to him. Depending on the wording of the contract he may have to pay some of it back if he already received it. Obviously the club would like him to do that.
For Sancho there are other matters. On Tuesday night, Duncan Castles reported the following.
Sancho is owed incentive bonuses for reaching a certain number of England caps. If he cancels his contract with Borussia Dortmund before getting those caps (which were expected) then he’d lose that money. Why do that?
It’s entirely possible United had reached an agreement with BVB and Sancho weeks ago, but Sancho’s team requested for them to not make an official bid until after the international break. We just kept hearing noise in the media because there’s nothing else going on and putting Jadon Sancho and Manchester United in your headline get you clicks.
For United, there was no harm in letting the deal play out until now. Typically you want business done early so your players are all together for preseason but United knew that didn’t matter this year because… THEY WEREN’T HAVING A PRESEASON.
It’s the 9th of September and there are still players who haven’t turned up yet at Carrington. The squad’s first full workout isn’t until tomorrow!
That little fact makes it even more beneficial for both United and Sancho to hold off on this deal.
Manchester United’s last game was the Europa League semifinal on Sunday August 16th – 24 days ago. That’s why United don’t need a full preseason – the players haven’t had enough time to lose their fitness!
The last match that Sancho played in was Saturday June 27th – 74 days ago! Sancho needs a preseason, and with Borussia Dortmund he got one. Had Sancho signed with United in the middle of August, he would have been training on his own while the rest of his teammates were on holiday.
Staying with BVB, going through preseason training, and playing in preseason friendlies was far better for his season preparation than arriving at Carrington early.
Now there are other intangible benefits to getting the deal done early – such as a morale boost for the rest of the squad but are we really so naive to think the players don’t know what’s going on?
Sancho is good mates with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. Do we really think there’s been no communication between them and that Rashford hasn’t said something along the lines of “what’s the deal, are you coming or not?”
Last season Paul Pogba had (understandable) concerns about the direction of the club. If they weren’t going for Sancho this season, and were being as stagnant as they currently are it would be completely valid for more players to have those same concerns! Yet none of them do.
And of course there’s money. You don’t want to hear this but United saved a lot of money by not getting this deal done earlier.
Football contracts run from July 1 through June 30. If United signed Sancho on July 27th when the window opened they’d be on the hook for his wages through all of August. Why would they want to do that?
Typically preseason starts about the second week of July so the cost benefit of signing players early is there. This year, United aren’t getting together until September 10th so they’d be paying Sancho for six weeks to do nothing.
Now I get that one month of wages should be chump change to the Glazers but we aren’t a free spending club. Our owners are investors, we aren’t as rich and liquid as we claim to be, saving money is a good thing (provided it gets invested back into the club).
I know we all wish we had owners that would freely spend money the way Roman Abramovich does but the reality is we don’t. That’s not changing unless someone buys the club.
That’s certainly annoying, but it’s not a problem provided they get this deal (and at least another one) over the line before kicking off against Crystal Palace next Saturday.
This deal was never going to happen before August. NOW Ed Woodward and Matt Judge are on the clock…