Manchester United are in fine form, with an attack and midfield thriving since the Premier League restart. But Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish remain important transfer targets, says Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper…
United have won their past three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 11-2, with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba clicking in the middle of the pitch behind attacking trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
However, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after Saturday’s 5-2 win over Bournemouth he will continue to look to improve his squad – which could well mean investing in the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho and Aston Villa’s Grealish.
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“We’ve got to improve the ones we’ve got here but we will never stand still,” he said. “You can’t think, ‘we’ve cracked this’. The emphasis is on improving the team all the time.”
Cooper, who covers United for Sky Sports News, says as well as improvement, injuries such as the one which kept Pogba out for long periods this season are another reason why Solskjaer will look to add strength in depth when the transfer window reopens.
“I don’t think you can have too many good players at a club like Manchester United,” he told the Sky Sports Football Weekend Review podcast.
“Jadon Sancho would be a statement signing for Manchester United. He’s someone that would allow them to rotate, in the same way as having an attacking midfielder like Jack Grealish.
“Yes, Grealish may not start games for Manchester United, because your first choices might be Pogba and Fernandes, but if you look at Pogba over the past couple of seasons you’re not going to get 30-40 games out of him because he doesn’t do that for Manchester United, he has these injury problems which mean he’s not consistently there.
“Sancho knows Rashford really, really well. The two of them are friends. And that’s a really fearsome looking strike line-up.
“And the other thing about it is, Greenwood could well play No10 behind the trident. If you wanted to do that and give Bruno Fernandes a rest, you could have Pogba and Nemanja Matic supporting [Greenwood] and him pulling some of the strings, in the same way even Marcus Rashford could.
“Grealish also has the ability to play across the frontline. We saw him playing for Aston Villa at the weekend and he dropped in at No10, he played No9 towards the end of the game and he can go on the left or the right.
“That versatility – much like Jadon Sancho who can play across that frontline as well – just gives Manchester United all those options.”
CAN MAN UTD AFFORD THEM? GREALISH ‘EASILY’, SANCHO NOT FOR £100M
But how would Manchester United finance those two purchases when the transfer window reopens? Cooper believes Grealish would be comfortably attainable for United financially, but says, given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, they may have to find ways of structuring a deal with Borussia Dortmund to land extremely expensive Sancho.
“Certainly in terms of money, Jack Grealish is a deal Manchester United can do pretty easily with the finances they have,” he said. “With Sancho, they’re going to have to get a bit more creative.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a £100m transfer fee. There’s going to be some money down, there might be players involved, there might be sell-ons or buy-ons, just to protect them and give Dortmund the kind of money they deserve.
“Before COVID-19 I think everyone looked at it and thought that’s a £100m signing. But I don’t think anyone is writing a £100m cheque at Manchester United for one player.”
WOULD GREALISH LEAVE HOMETOWN TEAM VILLA?
If the finances of Grealish to United are straightforward, would the player – and Villa – actually be keen on the move?
Sky Sports football journalist Gerard Brand believes Grealish would want to make the switch and Villa wouldn’t stand in his way.
“If Villa go down, he goes,” Brand told the Sky Sports Football Weekend Review podcast. “That’s a shoo-in. If Villa survive, it’s going to be up to Grealish. I can’t see Villa standing in his way if he does want to go – but they will drive a hard bargain.
“In all honesty, I think he will go, even if Villa survive. He’s a Champions League player, he’s an England player in the making – and Villa are light years away from the Europa League, let alone the Champions League.
“I don’t think Villa fans are going to begrudge him a move. He’s earned it. As long as he’s honest with the fans and he doesn’t leave in the same way that Fabian Delph left a few years ago, he’ll get the well wishes of Villa fans.”
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.