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Manchester United Idols: Andy Cole – a true bargain of the Premier League era; 275 appearances, 121 goals, 44 assists

On Tuesday 10 January 1995, Manchester United signed Andy Cole from Newcastle United in a deal worth £7 million which included Keith Gillespie, worth £1 million heading in the other direction. For £6 million cash, Cole was going to be an absolute belter for United. He made his debut 12 days after signing for the club in a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford over Blackburn Rovers – the eventual winners of the Premier League that season by one point – with Eric Cantona scoring an 80th minute winner. Cole’s first goal for United came in a 1-0 victory over Aston Vila at Old Trafford on the 4 February 1996, scoring the only goal of the match in the 17th minute.

In his first season for United, despite coming half way through the season, Cole made 18 appearances, not playing in any other competition that season as he was cup-tied in the FA Cup, United were already out of the League Cup and the UEFA Champions League – finishing third in their group. In those few appearances, Cole managed to score 12 goals, scoring single goals against Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Southampton, braces against Leicester City and Coventry City, also scoring five against Ipswich Town in a 9-0 hammering of the club that season which also saw a brace from Mark Hughes and goals from Roy Keane and Paul Ince too.

Cole played for United in eight different seasons, coming half way through the first and leaving halfway through the last, completing six seasons at the club. In his second season (1995/96), United were tasked to win the Premier League once again after Blackburn won the title the previous season, stopping United from winning the league three seasons in a row. United achieved that with Cole making 43 appearances and scoring 13 goals, 11 of those were in the Premier League alone which saw United finish four points clear of Newcastle United also finishing the season with the FA Cup after beating Liverpool 1-0 with Cantona scoring the only goal of the match.

In the summer of 1996, Cole saw both Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrive at the Old Trafford club. During the 1996/97 season, Cole made just 28 appearances, scoring seven goals in all competitions, which was not his best season at the club by a long shot but it was a season that United retained the Premier League title, also winning the FA Charity Shield at the start of the season, but falling short in the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Champions League once more. United were seeking to sign Alan Shearer from Blackburn that summer, ending up spending 10% of his fee on Solskjaer, which turned out quite well for United – that is another story.

The 1997/98 season was Cole’s best season at the club where he made a total of 45 appearances, scoring 25 goals – the most he had ever scored in one season for the club. It was the first of three good seasons for the player and the club where he would score a total of 71 goals in 140 appearances for the club. United ended the season second in the Premier League, losing to Arsenal by a single point, similar to that season against Blackburn. United won the FA Community Shield, got to the fifth round of the FA Cup, the third round of the League Cup also reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League – but little did anyone know what was coming.

The 1998/99 season is the pinnacle season for United as they won the treble, a feat that has never been achieved by another English club, at least not a proper treble. Cole made 50 appearances for his club that season, scoring 24 goals in all competitions. Cole scored some important goals that season, helping United qualify for the Champions League, scoring against LKS Lodz in the qualification round, scoring twice against Brondby in the group stages and once against Barcelona with new strike partner, Dwight Yorke – who arrived that summer for £12.6 million from Aston Villa, bagging a brace. Cole also scored against Juventus in the semi-final second leg.

United won the Premier League on the final day of the 1998/99 season, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 with Les Ferdinand opening the scoring (24′), David Beckham equalising (42′) and Cole scoring a 47th winner for United, seeing his side lift the title at Old Trafford. United then won the FA Cup six days later beating Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley with Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes scoring the goals. Four days later would be the biggest match of the season and some of these player’s careers just four days later. United versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League final at the Nou Camp in Barcelona.

Cole started that match in Barcelona but a sixth minute after Mario Basler scoring a free-kick, beating Peter Schmeichel. Bayern were unlucky not to score more goals in the match, hitting the woodwork more than once throughout the match. Sheringham replaced Jesper Blomqvist in the 67th minute to support United’s attack with Cole being replaced by Solskjaer in the 81st minute, which would change the match for United. In the first minute of added time, United won a corner, taken by Beckham with Sheringham scoring. Two minutes later, another free-kick – Beckham into Sheringham and Solskjaer has won it.

United reached the promised land that season with one of the best teams that Sir Alex Ferguson had ever put together. Cole made another 45 appearances in the 1999/2000 season, scoring 22 goals for United. United won the Premier League again, the third round in the League Cup, did not participate in the FA Cup because of FIFA Club World Cup, which they finished in the group stages of, also winning the Intercontinental Cup. The 2000/01 season was Cole’s last full season at the club, making 31 appearances and scoring 13 goals for the club. United ended with the Premier League again, winning it three times in a row for the first time.

During the 2001/02 season, Cole made 15 appearances for United, scoring five goals. His last goal came in a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. his last appearance for United came in a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on the 8 December 2001 in which Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the game. United signed Ruud van Nistelrooy in the summer of 2001, delayed from the year before because of fitness concerns which turned into a ruptured ACL. His arrival limited Cole’s performances for United that season so he was sold to Blackburn Rovers for £8 million, with United making a profit based on the fee paid for him.

Cole won the League Cup with Blackburn only a few months after being sold to the club, which was his twelfth and final trophy of his career. He made 100 appearances, scoring 37 goals for Blackburn then leaving for Fulham (39 appearances, 13 goals), Manchester City (23 appearances, 10 goals), Portsmouth (22 appearances, four goals), Birmingham City on loan (five appearances, one goals), Sunderland (eight appearances, no goals), Burnley on loan (13 appearances, six goals) and finally ending his career at Nottingham Forest (11 appearances, no goals). Cole made a total of 646 appearances during his career, scoring 289 goals.

For United, Cole made 275 appearances, scoring 121 goals and 44 assists and helped the club win five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one FA Charity Shield and one UEFA Champions League. Since retiring, Cole has coached with Huddersfield Town, achieved his coaching badges working at United’s Carrington training ground and worked with Sol Campbell at Southend United. He has suffered ill-health with kidney failure in 2014 and had a transplant in 2017. He is also an ambassador for United, the club that he spent much of his glittering career at. He turned 49 on the Thursday 15 October 2020 and it was fitting to remember this Manchester United icon.

Written by John Walker

Iconic Reds: Sir Bobby Charlton – when legends were made, Charlton broke the mould

Sir Bobby Charlton for some is what Manchester United means. The guy was the club’s top scorer of all time until that record was broken by Wayne Rooney, a player who has earned the plaudits and maybe had a career on par with the great Charlton, but when you compare the two, Charlton will be the player who stands out the most. Charlton scored seven hat-tricks in his United career, scoring 249 goals for the club and a further 49 for his country. Both of those records are now held by Rooney who has scored 253 goals for United; 53 for England meaning he has broken the records set by Charlton by scoring four more goals, which is an achievement even if Rooney will not be held in the same vein as Charlton, the true embodiment of the world legend.

Sir Bobby Charlton joined Manchester United as an apprentice in 1953, making his first team debut on the 6 October 1956 in a 4-2 victory over Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford, scoring twice in that match. Charlton survived the Munich Air Disaster on the 6 February 1958, which lost the lives of eight of the Busby Babes, which also left him feeling guilty about still being alive and left his career up in the air. He eventually returned to football on the 1 March 1958 in a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion, United’s first match after the disaster, scoring again later that month with a brace against Fulham in the FA Cup, which was a 2-2 draw, with the replay played days later and United winning 5-3 with Charlton scoring once.

Charlton won three First Division titles in his career, along with one FA Cup, four FA Charity Shields and the European Cup in 1968, ten years after that fateful flight from Munich. Charlton scored twice at Wembley to lift their first European trophy, with George Best and Brian Kidd also scoring goals, most coming in extra time with Charlton’s first goal in the 53rd minute of the match, Best scoring the winner in the 92nd minute, Kidd scoring two minutes later and Charlton ending the scoring in the 99th minute, beating Benfica 4-1, with Jaime Graça equalising in the 79th minute of the match.

During his time in the youth ranks, Charlton won the FA Youth Cup three times, in consecutive years. For England, Charlton obviously won the World Cup, something that only a few Englishmen can say they won – something which will probably be the case for decades still when you look at the players who turn out for England, not many of them winners and always underachieving. Charlton also won the British Home Championship ten times, showing that the England team of that time were something special, but saying that, football was special in those days, not that I was alive to see it all but I would have loved to have been a child from that era.

They seem to have been the times to have been alive and watching football in this country. What a period to have been alive; a World Cup and a European Cup for Charlton just two years apart. Charlton went through a lot to continue playing football, surviving the Munich Air Disaster at a young age, dealing with the guilt then paying his deceased teammates back for giving their lives. That really much have been a tough time for him. Playing with his teammates in what turned out to be their final match, then on the way back to Manchester, stopping in Munich to refuel, that fateful thing happened which changed the course of history for Manchester United, something which would take the club to the brink and back, rising from the ashes and a decade later, doing what could have been done that season of soon after – lifting the European Cup for the first time, a competition dominated by Real Madrid at the time winning the trophy six times before the 1960s were over.

When you say the word legend in today’s game, only a few players give me the same feeling as Sir Bobby Charlton, none of them supersedes the feeling I get when you mention the name, Charlton. The guy literally put his life on the line for the club, overcoming the bad times, turning them into good times but without the like of Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan – the player who died on or within a fortnight of that fateful day, not to mention those who never played the game again; Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower.

Club officials Walter Crickmer, Tom Curry and Bert Whalley would have been close to the heart also. Sir Bobby Charlton, at the age of 81, is still working in the game today, nothing too strenuous but for his age and to still play a part just shows how much the guy loves and respects the game he played for so many years. Charlton achieved so much with Manchester United, but in his own right he has won over a lot of plaudits too. Charlton is one of four players to have ever been awarded the top individual prize in football, the Ballon d’Or. Denis Law was the first player to be honoured in 1964 with Charlton winning the award in 1966, coming second in 1967 and 1968, which is an achievement, finished runner-up to George Best that year.

The fourth winner of the prestigious award was Cristiano Ronaldo but Eric Cantona and David Beckham came close. For me, Charlton is my favourite ever Manchester United player, even though he is not a player I ever saw play in the flesh. He is a true legend, a true inspiration and his story should be told forever more. Sir Bobby Charlton is the epitome of the word legend and that will always be the case. The player has been honoured twice by the Old Trafford club, having a statue of himself, George Best and Denis Law, the United Trinity opposite that of their master, Sir Matt Busy outside the east stand of the stadium.

The south stand of Old Trafford was named after the player, The Sir Bobby Charlton Stand now sits opposite that of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, two legends of the club, there forever more. Charlton was named the fourth best Manchester United player in the history of the Old Trafford club by the readers of the United magazine, Inside United, back in January 2011. Ryan Giggs topped the poll, Eric Cantona coming second, George Best coming third and Charlton in fourth place. It may be something that was destined to happen at some time with most readers of the magazine being younger, the fans who would have seen Giggs and Cantona come through the club, who are decent players from the history of the club. The memories, the legendary matches, the history of the club. Sir Bobby Charlton – what a player, what a man, what a legend.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United make £91.3 million bid for Jadon Sancho – rejected by Borussia Dortmund – reports

Manchester United have reported made a €100 million (£91.3 million) bid to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, which has been rejected by the Bunndesliga club according to Sky Sports. The 20-year-old is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number one target this summer and United had a 10 August deadline to sign the player. There has been various messages coming from the German club since August suggesting that the player will remain at the club this summer, the latest being club captain Marco Reus. However, since then, the player has not flown to Munich for the DFL-Supercup against Bayern Munich due to respiratory issues.

It may be nothing but in August 2017, Sancho angered Manchester City by claiming to be ill in a bid to force through a transfer. Could this be a similar matter? This is wishful thinking but should be kept in the back of your mind. It seemingly worked before – could it work again? It is probably nothing though as the player seems happy to continue playing for the club for another season and the fact he has not yet spoken out about the speculation surrounding him, and not suggested himself the he wants to stay at the club, the speculation will continue until the transfer window closes on Monday 5 October 2020.

United were told that they would need to spend €120 million to secure the signing of Sancho this summer and that was before the 10 August deadline to sign the player. Today, that would mean that United would need to offer a minimum of £109.5 million for there to be any chance of acceptance of their offer, which may or may not be the case. United were given an opportunity at the start of there summer transfer window and seemed to hold on to the last week of the transfer window to do anything about it. This may have cost United the transfer. Some will suggest that United have offered this amount knowing that it would be rejected with the club saying they tried.

Sancho would be the ideal player for United to sign, giving him the vacant number seven shirt at the club, which has been worn by the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo – to talk about the successful players to have donned the shirt. However, in the past 11 years, Antonio Valencia, Memphis Depay, Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez have all worn the famous shirt to no real success. Last season, Sancho made a total of 44 appearances for his club, scoring 20 goals and 20 assists in all competitions, which would be great to add to the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood at United.

This season, Sancho has made a total of three appearances, scoring one goal and two assists. The player, presumably would have been looking forward to locking horns with Bayern Munich in a chance to win the first domestic trophy of the season but with him being ill, he will miss the match. Earlier in the summer, it was reported that United had come to an agreement with the player’s representatives regarding personal terms and the fees involved to conclude the deal, however, not agreeing on a deal with Dortmund to sign there player. It may be that United will return with a better offer before the transfer window closes on Monday or just accept defeat?

Solskjaer would have liked the summer transfer window to have gone to plan with the club bringing in the players that he wanted to add to the squad to cover the strength in depth and quality issues in the squad which were glaring towards the end of last season. Fabrizio Romano has stated that Dortmund will not accept anything less than €120 million for Sancho this summer so United will need to pay that to get their man this summer. It might be that United are waiting on the imminent departure of some player with Andreas Pereira (loan), Chris Smalling and Diogo Dalot linked with exits this summer. The coming days may tell us more.

Written by John Walker

Jadon Sancho last-gasp bid to be made with £90 million offer for England winger – reports

Manchester United are reported ready to make an offer for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this summer. United were given a deadline of the 10 August to sign the winger and were told to pay £108 million for the player this summer. The deadline soon expired with United not making a move for the player, however, there was reported to suggest that United has agreed on personal terms with the player’s agent regarding a five-year contract and the agents fees involved in the transfer.

The Mirror has reported that United are set to bid £90 million for the England winger this summer with the report suggesting the Old Trafford club is confident of signing Sancho this summer, with just over a week remaining before the summer transfer window closes. This is a saga that has dragged on all summer with ITKs on Twitter saying it has been a done deal for months, which makes them look quite inept when nothing ever seems to transpire. However, if this happens, they will claim they still know it all when it was probably more of a guessing game than knowledge.

The £90 million offer, which is £28 million short of the fee demanded by Dortmund, will consist of £75 million up front for the winger and £15 million in add-ons to be paid at a later date. This is the best offer the German club are going to get for the player this summer and with Sancho reportedly interested in the move to United, despite him unwilling to rock the boat at his club and hand in a transfer request, United will need hope on their side if they are to land the player they have been chasing for a while now. Sancho has been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number on target.

The German club has said ever since the 10 August deadline that the player will remain in Germany for the 2020/21 season but they seem to have entertained the rumour to continue by talking about the player regularly which makes it look like they are trying to attract United to place a firm offer for the player. In the post-coronavirus financial market, all clubs around the world are taking a hit and that may not rectify itself quickly, so the transfer market will have suffered a collapse with teams demanding fees that won’t be paid as clubs don’t have the luxury of unlimited funds.

It would seem that Sancho could be a player that Borussia Dortmund would sell this summer but United would need to hit the German clubs target, which is £108 million or nothing at all. If Sancho tells the club that he does want to leave, which is something that I do not believe he would do, Dortmund might be forced to lower their demands or end up keeping a player that does not want to remain at the club. This saga has become so uninteresting that the only thing to bring it back from cardiac arrest would be a firm offer being placed by United and accepted by the German club.

That would spark a flurry of interest and end with United signing the player that Solskjaer has wanted all summer. That is the unlikely scenario at this time as the German club would look weak in accepting £75 million upfront for Sancho and £15 million in add-ons, which is not a look they would want this summer, but they could put it down to the coronavirus pandemic and the temporary fall in the financial markets. They could even see their share prices rise because of the deal, with might bring more riches to the club. Who knows what could or would happen. United need to get their business in order and find a way of doing business that is not inept and does not include inept businessmen passing themselves off as football guys.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United in preparation to finalise Jadon Sancho offer – reports

Manchester United are preparing to finalise agent salary and fees before submitting an official offer to Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Mail. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still retains the England winger as his number one target this summer to bolster the attacking line of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Over the past few weeks, talk of Sancho heading to Old Trafford this summer had quelled with his £108 million valuation still desired this summer.

Dortmund chief Michael Zorc last month suggested that United’s chances of signing the England winger has dissipated after the 10 August deadline to sign the player expired. The Daily Mail understands that United will make a move for the 20-year-old this summer but first of all they will sort out the salary and fees of intermediaries involved in the prospective deal before placing an official bid for the winger. Sancho’s agent is said to be Emeka Obasi of the Elite Project Group agency.

United have been the frontrunners to sign Sancho this summer with the Old Trafford club expected to be the only club that could spend this kind of transfer fee on a player this summer, despite suffering financially from the after effects of the coronavirus pandemic that stopped world football for around three months from mid-March. United have already signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax for £35.7 million this summer and are seeking to offload a number of players to make way for other arrivals this summer.

United have some work to do in order to create a team that can match the qualities of Liverpool and Manchester City to challenge for the Premier League title. The arrival of Van de Beek will go a long way to adding strength and depth in the midfield, also a capable player who can get into the box and create something for his teammates, which there is a lot of at the club right now, especially with the arrival of Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window with 12 goals and eight assists in 22 appearances already in his short spell at the club.

Former United captain and Class of 92 graduate Gary Neville had urged the club to strengthen in five different areas this summer in order to help the club deal with the lives of Liverpool and City. Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said:

“They have to sign a world-class centre back. For me, another midfield player.

“I also think a right winger, a centre forward and you have to look at left back because of Luke Shaw’s injuries and the fact he has obviously been in and out of the team in the last two or three years.

“So, I think there are definitely four or five players required and to not get three, I think it would be a problem because of what the other clubs are doing.”

Neville then talked about Chelsea strengthening this summer with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva all arriving during the summer transfer window, also talking about Liverpool and City, which will mean that United could be under further pressure to sign more players this summer. Neville said:

“If Liverpool get Thiago, if Manchester City do what they are looking like they are going to do and with Chelsea doing what they’ve done, they are your competitors and they all look like they are improving and moving forward.

“I’m not sat here as a United fan thinking I desperately want him [Sancho]. It could be any number of players that become available that would improve United.

“If Harry Kane became available, and Tottenham fans will be saying why are you trying to get him out of Spurs again, but if he became available, he’d obviously improve United’s squad. So it doesn’t have to be a certain player.”

Written by John Walker

Manchester United to give up on Jadon Sancho until next summer – but will they?

Manchester United are reportedly ready to pull the plug on their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this summer, aiming to launch a bid for the player in a year’s time instead, according to reports by The Sun. United would need to pay £108 million up front to sign Sancho this summer with the German club not willing to accept payments in instalments, which has been reported many times already this summer and given that the 10 August deadline elapsed a fortnight ago, the club has no reason to sell now.

The report has stated that United intend to call time on their chase of the England winger, possibly returning next summer, which could be difficult seeing as other clubs such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona etc might actually make a move for the winger. It is suggested that the player’s representatives want to secure a contract worth £300,000 per week for Sancho which is something United do not want to just into based on the fact that the transfer of Alexis Sanchez was such a bad move for United.

This seems to be just another lame excuse dreamt up by the media as Sancho will ask for a large weekly wage moving to a bigger club, especially one of the richest clubs in the world. What would make United think that the player would ask for less money in a year’s time? When you want to attract the best players in the world but not pay them what they want, where do you expect the club to end up? Certainly not with players who are considered the best at what they do, being underpaid at United.

Every summer, there seems to be a lot of speculation, much of which could well be dreamt up by football writers in the bid to generate clicks to websites in order to make money, which is not really something that many will be a fan of. Surely, journalism should be better than that, searching through all the lies to find the truth, reporting on facts, not fallacy. But modern football has brought lots of money, which has left the media seeming to make money too, which is why there seems to be so many different stories, some of which contradict even the same sports writers.

The Mail has also claimed that United will let the Sancho deal lie this summer, attempting to sign the player next summer. Instead, it is suggested that the club is willing to spend £27 million on Juventus winger Douglas Costa, which was stated to be just £18 million a few days ago. Thinking about that one, why would a club that understands that Dortmund will be wanting more than £100 million for Sancho, whether it is this summer or next, waste money on a short-term option who would want big wages himself and might not be so easy to shift next summer?

Sancho recently admitted to SportBible, as reported by The Sun, that the transfer speculation can be hard to ignore and the player wants to get his head down and focus on his Dortmund career, which is what he would say, being a Dortmund player, right?

“It would be easy to get carried away. It can affect players. For me it’s about not looking at those things and just focusing on trying to do the best I can on the pitch… especially in training.

“For me it’s about improving every single day. “It’s important for me to keep a smile on my face and keep happy. I don’t really look at all the noise and all that stuff. I’d rather keep my head down, keep focus and improve every day.”

Written by John Walker

Jadon Sancho refuses to rule out transfer whilst club suggests he’s staying put – oh the drama!

Manchester United and the transfer window are two things to equate to drama. Each time the transfer window opens, there is major speculation and United tend to leave things late, which is not the sign of a club that has a clue what it is actually doing. This is an important summer for United but with nothing seemingly happening yet and supporters getting annoyed, it is going to be a long summer transfer window. United have been heavily linked to Jadon Sancho this summer, but the 10 August deadline that the Old Trafford club were set by Borussia Dortmund expired with nothing much happening.

Ever since that date and the fact that Sancho left Germany for Switzerland on the club pre-season training camp, the German club has reiterated that Sancho will be staying at the club for the entire 2020/21 season. Whether that happens remains to be seen though. Sancho has refused to rule out a transfer this summer, which leads something hanging in the balance, despite the player stating that he tends to not think too much about the speculation, which suggests that he had a good head on his shoulders.

United will need to spend £108 million (€120 million) on Sancho this summer, which in a post-coronavirus financial market could be a big ask, unless the Old Trafford club were able to agree on a lump sum up front then the rest paid in instalments, which might be beneficial for the Germany club in the future. Seldom do you see many transfers that put these sums of money up front with a player then joining a club, there always seems to be instalments. Sancho recently spoke to SoccerBible about the speculation surrounding him this summer, with him saying:

“It would be easy to get carried away with [the transfer speculation]. It can affect players. For me it’s about not looking at those things and just focusing on trying to do the best I can on the pitch… especially in training.

“For me it’s about improving every single day. It’s important for me to keep a smile on my face and keep happy. I don’t really look at all the noise and all that stuff. I’d rather keep my head down, keep focus and improve every day.”

The English winger seem to have a level head, which is a good sign for him during the future as if he remains at Borussia Dortmund for another season, the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, as well as United might be seeking to sign him next summer. Earlier on Saturday, Sancho played in the first of two warm up matches, scoring in the 5-1 victory over MSV Duisburg. Dortmund seem to be adamant that Sancho will stay at the club this summer, seemingly refusing to accept instalments from United, pushing for the entire fee upfront. Director Sebastian Kehl being quoted by Goal as saying:

“Jadon [Sancho] is happy to stay. He has a contract until 2023. I see him on the pitch and he is very happy. Everyone is very happy to have him. He is going to be here for at least one more season.”

United supporters may think that it would be the end of the world if United did not sign Sancho. However, everything happens for a reason. Whilst that reason this time would be the Glazers and Ed Woodward, United will still live on. United need to rebuild and the quality in the current squad needs to be raised. When the first XI are playing, things can work well but when you add fatigue, things do not go all that well, as was visible at the end of the season with United running out go puff. Former United striker, Andy Cole feels that Sancho’s prospective arrival could hamper Mason Greenwood’s progress at the club, which is an exciting future right there after the 18-year-old scored 17 goals and five assists in 49 appearances. Cole told the PA news agency, reported by The Sun:

“It’s scary and long may it continue. He can play as a nine and he can play out wide of a three, so it will be interesting to see where United think his best position is and what they see him as.

“If you have a player like Mason Greenwood then you can’t afford to block their progress. For me, the best number nine in the world is Robert Lewandowski. But there aren’t many, if any, Lewandowskis about.

“And if they do bring in Sancho then you’ve got to be careful as you don’t want to block [Greenwood’s] progress. United do need to bring in players as you must improve every season but it’s a fine balance.”

Written by John Walker

Lucien Favre states that it’s important Jadon Sancho stays at Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre has talked about the importance of Jadon Sancho remaining at the Bundesliga club this summer. The 20-year-old has been linked to Manchester United for well over a year now with suggestions last summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s club would make a move for the former Manchester City academy player. The coronavirus pandemic seems to have caused financial damage which might actually limit United’s financial might this summer.

United were given a deadline of the 10 August to sign Sancho with a €120 million fee payable for the English winger this summer. United chose to let he deadline pass, considering they were still participating in the UEFA Europa League at the time with Sancho leaving with his teammates for a pre-season training camp in Switzerland. Since then, the German club has stated that they plan to keep Sancho at the club for the 2020/21 season, which seems to be a wish rather than a confirmation.

Favre, speaking to Der Westen and reported by The Sun, said:

“It is important that he stays with us. That is of course also important for the team.

“Sancho is of course a very good player but he must also have in mind that he still has a lot to learn.

“He needs to have better control of the ball, to do more headed flick-ons and to improve his defending.

“He can’t just stop running and stand still for 10 minutes and then suddenly do something for the next 10 minutes. This applies to everyone else as well.”

We all know that Sancho is an important player for Dortmund and that they would like to retain the player this summer, but in the years to come, is he going to be worth £100 million and more? That is something that they might not be able to guarantee. The player could have a shocking 2020/21 season and his value to fall considerably. That is what happens in football. Favre might already know this, hence the comments that he is still a player learning the game, which could even be reverse psychology.

There seems to be something said by someone at Dortmund nearly every day with the manager, the sporting director, the CEO and teammates of Sancho. If the club was really confident of the player not leaving this summer, why the constant commenting in the media? It just seems strange. Surely, if the club made the decision to keep the player, the statement from the club should be enough to do that, surely? The Borussia Dortmund supporters seem to be quick to insult and abuse United supporters whenever they mention anything about Sancho but that seems to be fear.

If United want to sign Sancho this summer, they will need to pay £108 million for the player. On Monday, it was reported that Solskjaer would need to sell some of his fringe players at the club in order to raise the cash and clear the wage bill to add another play who would become a high earner. United really need to add quality to the squad this season as the first XI are good but the lack of quality depth is the problem moving forward. The Glazers must be able to see that getting the best available players will go a long way to helping United return to the promised land, which will make more money for the club in the long run.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United warned about Jadon Sancho, told not to leave it late with Dortmund not needing to sell

Manchester United have been warned about signing Jadon Sancho by former United coach Steve McClaren who said the 20-year-old is not the player United should have prioritised. He reckons that the player United should have signed Erling Haaland who is a player that would have fit into the squad. United were strongly linked to the 20-year-old in January but he signed for Borussia Dortmund from RB Salzburg instead and he has risen to become a player that will have a lot of interest going forward.

United will need to spend £108 million to sign his teammate Sancho this summer with United already missing the 10 August deadline to sign the player, seemingly still remaining confident of a possible deal to sign the player despite the Bundesliga club stating that they plan on having the player at the club for the 2020/21 season. McClaren told talkSPORT that he believes United have many players similar to Sancho at the club already and that Haaland would have been the more logical signing. He said:

“The front four are so quick, they’re so exciting and they cause so many problems, and Martial is a fantastic player, but in the big games when it really matters he never looks like a true goalscorer.

“They need class in that position. I don’t think [Romelu] Lukaku fit into what Manchester United are all about, that high intensity, and I think they need that.

“The manager is helpless if the club don’t back him and go for the likes of Haaland. What a perfect fit he would have been. I’ve seen him for Dortmund and he’s an incredible player at 20.

“Imagine him in the Man United team, that would be spot on. So they’re not far away, but they have to spend the money and get the right players.”

Speaking about Sancho, the former United coach spoke about the Dortmund player not being a number nine, which is a position that United would go a long way in signing and that the England winger is similar to Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood and he wondered if United really needed another player in the same mould as the trio. He might have a point but Greenwood could thrive playing centrally with Sancho on the right and Martial on the left, Rashford playing a different role. McClaren concluded by saying:

“I’ve seen Jadon Sancho play a lot for Dortmund and he’s very, very exciting, but he’s a little bit like Martial, [Marcus] Rashford and [Mason] Greenwood and I wonder, do they really need that?

“He’s not a No 9, and Martial, Rashford and Greenwood aren’t that either. You’ve got to get a fox in the box, a goalscorer and No 9 and they’ve got to find one quick.

“Yes, Sancho would improve the squad, but to win big games and to win cups, you need a No 9 and you need two damn good centre-backs. Haaland would have been perfect; a young talented striker, a No 9 who can play under pressure – they’re difficult to find.”

United have also been warned not to chase Sancho for the entire summer transfer window. Back in 2013, United could have signed Marouane Fellaini for £23.5 million at the start of the window but ended up paying £4 million more on deadline day, chasing Cesc Fabregas and others in a summer that David Moyes and Ed Woodward failed the club. The Sun has reported that United cannot afford to wait and should get their number one target signed as soon as they are able to. You can learn a lot from history and United could learn by looking back at theirs, which is recent.

In another report by The Sun, it is stated that Dortmund do not need to sell Sancho this summer, which could be another opportunity for the club to try and hurry United into completing the deal for the winger this summer. Of course, it could be the German clubs way of telling the club that their chance could have come and gone to get the transfer completed. United were told to pay £108 million for the winger and had until the 10 August to sign him and ever since, the club has continued to make noises suggesting that the player will remain at the club and they do not need to sell. It seems so public to be true. I guess we will have to wait and see what the end game will be.

Written by John Walker

Borussia Dortmund defiant that Jadon Sancho is staying; United put off other transfer business to seal deal

Manchester United seem to have been thrown yet another transfer warning regarding Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund days after the deadline to sign the player for €120 million expired. On Monday, Sancho headed to Switzerland with his teammates for their pre-season training camp and the club had previously said that if the player went with the club, he would be kept for the 2020/21 season. It would seem that the Bundesliga selling club will stick to their guns, or will they?

United seem to have spent a lot of time chasing Sancho in 2020 making the player the clubs number one target of the summer. However, after missing the 10 August deadline, it could well be an uphill task to get a deal done with Dortmund adamant that they will be keeping the player, even if they did say that they planned to keep the player for the 2020/21 season. Dortmund legend Sebastian Kehl, who now works for the club spoke to German magazine Kicker, which was reported by The Sun, saying:

“It was important to clarify this subject. Of course, we are aware of Jadon’s appeal [in the market] but we also know how important he is for our team.

“He is a player who can make the difference in every game. He had an outstanding past year with 17 goals and 17 assists [in the Bundesliga].

“He gives the team something extra and we are very happy that he is staying, as his team-mates have already stated in recent days.”

It would seem that United have made things difficult this summer and may have to look elsewhere for a player like Sancho, which is probably not going to happen. However, in another report by The Sun, it has been stated that United have put all other summer transfer business on hold as they aim to sign Sancho. But with all due respect, they were given a timeline to sign the player and never met it, seemingly briefing the media that they intended to try and sign the player for less money later in the window.

It is suggested in the report that the first contract offer for Sancho would have seen him take a pay cut, which is not what some newspapers reported with the player said to have been offered up to £340,000 per week at United, which seems hard to believe. The 20-year-old continue to be linked to the Old Trafford club, despite Dortmund’s stance on the matter. Whether the club means they will retain him this summer or not is yet to be found out. It is possible that the player hands in a transfer request but that would see him leave the club in a similar situation as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which might not be wanted.

It has been suggested by The Mirror that United want to sign Sancho so badly that they could decide to forgo all other transfer targets this summer to get him, which would not be ideal with the depth of the squad not looking all that good in terms of quality. How could a club like United have so little money to bring in new players when they have ben earning massive amount of money for decades. The answer to that question is the Glazers. Granted, they have made money available in the past for it to be wasted, and spending a little bit more this summer, to sign Sancho would see them heading in the right direction. The club needs to sort themselves out, they are knows an penny pinchers and that needs to stop.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW