Manchester United have been told they remain in with a solid chance of luring away two top Borussia Dortmund stars in 2021.
England attacker Jadon Sancho was United’s top summer transfer target, but they failed to get anywhere near signing the 20-year-old.
It’s understood the Bundesliga side were open to selling Sancho at the start of the summer, on their own terms.
Sporting director Michael Zorc laid out their demands – a £108m transfer fee and a deadline to do the deal by August 10.
United chief Ed Woodward though failed to match the Germans’ demands and once the deadline passed their chances of signing Sancho evaporated.
Ultimately, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s claim that United were one of the most “financially well-off” clubs did not sit well with BVB chiefs.
Goal machine Erling Haaland is another who slipped through United’s fingers.
Haaland has become one of the most in-demand strikers in the world since bursting onto the scene in recent years. Last season, his prolific record at RB Salzburg earned him a move to Borussia Dortmund.
The Leeds-born striker has kept up his efficient record in the Bundesliga. He has scored 10 goals from 10 games so far this season, after netting 16 times from 18 appearances in the second half of the last campaign.
Haaland was already on the radar of Premier League clubs before joining Dortmund. United were frequently linked with the Norway international.
However, Norwegian pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft is adamant the pair could still be lured away.
He says Dortmund status as a nearly club could ultimately lead to them opting to move on. And only winning a major trophy this season could indeed persuade them to stay.
“Viv Anderson said to me, ‘but Jan, it’s quite easy, young kids want to win trophies – that’s why they’re in the game,’” Fjortoft said to ESPN.
“One day they will go away, meet each other now at international break and they will say ‘you’re a good team, you have good talent, how many trophies have you got?’
“I think that is the danger with Dortmund. They have the best Norwegian, the best American, the two best English, although Sancho is not at the moment unfortunately.
“That is the main challenge for Dortmund. How long can they keep these young kids without winning trophies? The culture needs to be built up.
“It’s also typical that Bayern [have] got that culture at the moment because they have that winning mentality in there.”
Indeed, a report recently claimed that Solskjaer still sees Sancho and Haaland as his main targets.
GREALISH BACK ON THE RADAR OF MAN UTD
United, meanwhile, could reportedly still sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa next summer.
The Red Devils were strongly linked with the Villa playmaker last summer. They eventually decided against a move for two reasons. Firstly, they were unsure if Grealish would slot in immediately into their side. Secondly, the £80m fee Villa were demanding was reported to be too high.
However, the Manchester United Evening News claims Solskjaer has had a major change of heart. The report claims Grealish’s electric start to the season has forced a re-think from the United boss. He reportedly now sees the player as a ready-made star for United.
Grealish’s loyalty was rewarded with a new deal in the summer, while his form may now even have seen his price rise.
But the report claims he is now back among United’s top targets. As such, a firm summer 2021 bid could be in the offing.
It’s also suggested a big-name star could be sold to the highest bidder to help fund a deal for Grealish.