For Manchester United, it’s now Operation Jadon Sancho. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to sign the Borussia Dortmund star and has instructed his feelings on the matter to Ed Woodward. Having signed one alternative in Daniel James already, the Norwegian views the signing of the 20-year-old to be of paramount importance.
A year ago, Solskjaer told the Manchester United hierarchy that he wanted to sign Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund star had sparkled in the Bundesliga, scoring 12 goals and registering 17 assists as the club came second in the league table, behind Bayern Munich.
Ed Woodward, knowing Solskjaer wanted to sign the England international, decided to pick up the phone. An enquiry was lodged to the German side.
United, however, never got anywhere near landing the forward.
What they were told was that Sancho wouldn’t be joining a team that had lurched from one crisis to another in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
It was also made clear that he wouldn’t move to a side without Champions League football. United, having finished sixth, couldn’t offer him that.
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In the end, that forced a change of tact.
Woodward coughed up £15million to sign James from Swansea, with the Wales international seen as a low-risk buy.
But, in signing one Sancho alternative already, it’s hammered home just how important it is that United sign the real thing this time around.
James started the season in brilliant form.
He found the net in the 4-0 thumping of Chelsea at Old Trafford, adding gloss to an emphatic victory on a sunny afternoon.
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The Wales international was then on target against Crystal Palace two matches later but, that day, couldn’t prevent United from slipping to defeat.
And he also scored a belter in a 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary’s.
After a bright start, however, James’ form dipped. To such an extent that, by the time the final whistle blew against Leicester on Sunday, he wasn’t even on the pitch.
Three goals and six assists is a respectable amount of goal contributions from the 22-year-old when you consider it was his first year at Old Trafford.
But his numbers pale in comparison to what Sancho managed for Dortmund this season.
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The 20-year-old scored 17 goals and registered 17 assists in the Bundesliga alone, helping them to second in the standings.
He was also impressive in the Champions League, managing four direct goal involvement from eight games before his side were knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain.
United need that stardust sorely.
They’ve been linked with Kingsley Coman, Thiago Almada and Rabbi Matondo but it’s the real thing they crave.
For Solskjaer, Sancho is the ticket to title glory – and another alternative would merely stall the progress they’ve already made.
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