A mere 24 hours after clinching Champions League qualification, it seems that Manchester United are about to get serious in their quest to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. Fresh from securing the €66 million windfall that the premium European competition brings, the Old Trafford side have made the first concrete move of the summer by offering €98 million for the BVB attacker according to Bild.
The Schwarzgelben are holding out for €120 million, but it does now look more likely that the Premier League side are going to pursue their target until they get him. Dortmund however said weeks ago that they would sign a replacement should this scenario paly out and they already have targets lined-up to compensate for just such an event.
Dortmund fans will be hugely disappointed to lose Sancho, who scored 17 goals last season, but they should be appeased slightly by the fact the Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc have been here before and have an excellent track record at replacing departing stars. Indeed, Sancho’s arrival was in some way a response to the exit of Ousmane Dembélé. They also coped with the sale of Robert Lewandowski by having Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in their ranks.
So, who could be signed to fill the Sancho-sized gap, should he return to England?
One name high on the list of replacements is that of US Sassuolo winger Jérémie Boga. The 23-year-old French-born Ivorian international came through the youth academy at Chelsea before being sent on loans to Rennes, Granada, and Birmingham City. He however had a breakout season in Serie A this year after signing for Sassuolo in 2018. With two games left in the Italian top-flight, Boga has scored 11 goals and provided two assists for the Neroverdi in Serie A.
There is competition for his signature with former club Chelsea having a €20 million buy-back clause, while Juventus, Napoli and Sevilla are also reportedly tracking the player. The fact that he didn’t make it in his first spell at the club shouldn’t be held against him as both Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah failed to make the grade at Stamford Bridge.
Another potential arrival could be that of Jonathan Ikoné from French side Lillle. The Times have reported that Dortmund have already begun talks to purchase the 22-year-old midfielder, who is currently valued at around €45 million.
He scored 4 goals and provided 7 assists for LOSC last season before the French league was cut short due to the corona virus pandemic. His displays also earned a first call-up to the French national squad in September and he has notched up four appearances for Les Bleues with one goal so far.
Like Sancho, he can play on either flank, but is naturally a number 10 type player. He does have three-years remaining on his current contract, but Lille are a selling club and a suitable bid this summer will see him depart the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Like Boga, Dortmund are not the only potential suitors with English sides Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea all being linked with the player recently.
The not-so secret weapon
Dortmund also have the unleashing of wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko in November to fall back on. Although an out-and-out striker, the potential impact of the 16-year-old could be massive if he can reproduce anywhere near his youth form for the first team.
Changes to the DFL rules on minimum ages for player licensing, Moukoko, who turns 16 in November, could be unleashed on the Bundesliga with devastating effect. BVB will not want to rush him, or put too much pressure on him, but the potential is most definitely there to compensate somewhat for the loss of Sancho.