July 23rd, 2021 marks the date that Manchester United fans had been waiting for. Jadon Sancho had finally put pen to paper on a contract that would make him a «red devil».
But the road to securing Sancho was long and, at times, challenging.
During an interview with Dagbladet, Manchester United's manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, confirms that the deal fell apart last summer, but that United maintained their focus on attaining Sancho.
- Never lost interest
- We kept track of him at all times, despite the deal collapsing last year, it was too expensive. We ... how do you say it in Norwegian ... we never lost interest!, Solskjær tells Dagbladet.
Having negotiated with Dortmund for large parts during the summer in 2020, United had to admit defeat. However, Sancho proved his worth during the season, racking up 16 goals and 20 assists in 38 matches.
- He gained another year of experience, we became a better team that year and the fee became more viable. Even though, we'd have preferred him arriving earlier. But we know he'll be vital to us for years to come, so there was no doubt that we were going to go in for him (Sancho) again.
- Could you explain at bit what happened behind the scenes when it looked like a deal could be done?
- I don't negotiate with the clubs. We have others who do that, so I couldn't tell you when they felt it was tipping in our favour.
According to reports, Sancho was reported to have cost around 900 million Norwegian kroners (approximately 85 million punds). In which case Sancho would rank as one of the 20 most expensive transfers of all time.
Despite having splashed the cash on Erling Braut Haaland's former teammates, Sancho has started both of Man United's fixtures on the bench. He played 15 minutes against Leeds, and then 30 minutes against Southampton.
Having been asked about why Sancho had yet to start a match for United, considering the large transfer fee, Solskjær gave a clear explanation.
- There are so many things you as experts should've known instead of being Captain Hindsight, right? It's a completely different world being here and knowing exactly what's going on, Solskjær said.
- But it's no secret that he (Sancho) was ill. He didn't work out the first week after arriving. He was very ill, and was not even close to being in the necessary shape to start a Premier League match against Leeds. That, in itself, is an extremely difficult task considering their physical shape.