It would appear that Borussia Dortmund have played a perfect hand in the poker game surrounding their prized asset Jadon Sancho and his proposed move to Manchester United. They stated their asking price, stated a date by which they wanted a deal completed and then stuck to their guns when the Premier League side dithered. No, you can’t buy him on the cheap, no you can’t eke this thing out, and in the end, no you’re not getting him.
But does this no really mean no?
The no that Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc confirmed on Monday after arriving in Bad Ragaz in Switzerland for their pre-season training camp, seems to keep Jadon Sancho at the Signal Iduna Park until 2013. “We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season, the decision is final. I think that answers all our questions,” Zorc told reporters.
“Last summer, we adjusted Jadon’s salary to match the development of his performances. So, in context, we had already extended his contract until 2023 back then” he added.
What Borussia Dortmund have in effect done is tie the English attacker to the club for the next season, knowing that there will be plenty of demand for him next summer when they will still be able to demand his true transfer value (in excess of €100 million).
Manchester United fans will be apoplectic at losing out on the player widely presumed to be on his way to Old Trafford in the summer, but their Chief Executive Edward Woodward didn’t reckon with BVB’s negotiating (or rather non-negotiating) style. Dortmund knew full well of United’s interest, but also knew full well what the player was worth (even in a Covid-depressed market).
United believed the Schwarzgelben’s €120 million valuation to be ‘unrealistic’ which is hard to fathom when you consider the 20-year-old scored 17 goals last season and provided another 16 assists. He is one of the most talented youngsters in European football, is under contract and was not for sale at a cut-price.
Dortmund have increased Sancho’s wages making him one of the highest paid players at the club to reflect his contribution knowing full well that there will be bids flooding in again next summer, when it won’t just be Manchester United in the queue.
There is a but. Dortmund have been here before with both Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In July 2017 Michael Zorc was quoted as saying: “Dembélé has a long contract. He will definitely play with us next season.” He was sold to Barcelona. In January 2018: “Aubameyang will stay until summer. His camp understands this.” He was sold to Arsenal.
Now, Sancho doesn’t appear to be as unprofessional as Dembélé, but should the player decide to force the situation by handing in a transfer request, the whole can of worms would be opened once again.
Does no mean no, or does no, mean maybe later? Is this the end of the protracted Sancho to United saga?