Man Utd want Jadon Sancho. But the best-laid plans of mice, men and boardroom executives often go awry, yet that sometimes pays off in the world of transfers.
Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus)
How much would he cost? At least €35m (£31.4m).
Where does the link come from? Tuttosport.
What did they say? That Bernardeschi was ‘plan B if something goes wrong with the purchase of Sancho’. The opening paragraph to the story was: ‘”Sorry, how much does Bernardeschi cost?”. Maybe they didn’t express themselves like that, but the concept is that.’ Which is bloody adorable.
Does it make sense? United had been linked previously. He was supposedly offered in a swap deal for Paul Pogba last month. While Sancho is a fair bit younger, Bernardeschi is notably cheaper. It could happen.
Douglas Costa (Juventus)
How much would he cost? £21.5m or so, according to some sketchy reports.
Where does the link come from? Calciomercato.
What did they say? ‘The Red Devils consider it as the first alternative to Jadon Sancho.’
Does it make sense? Not when he turns 30 in September and would require a decent investment in terms of transfer fees, wages and agent expenses.
Rabbi Matondo (Schalke)
How much would he cost? No-one really knows. He has a €60m (£53.7m) release clause, was signed by Schalke for £11.3m in January 2019, has made 26 appearances since and is considered a ‘cost-efficient’ and ‘low-risk buy’.
Where does the link come from? Manchester Evening News.
What did they say? ‘Manchester United are monitoring Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo as a possible back-up target for Jadon Sancho.’ Well that’s not as much fun as Google Translate.
Does it make sense? Only if you consider a teenager with 13 career first-team league starts as a viable alternative to someone with 17 league goals and assists each this season.
Memphis Depay and Wilfried Zaha (Lyon and Crystal Palace)
How much would either cost? Depay was linked with a £50m move to Tottenham in November but will soon be entering the final year of his contract. Zaha was quoted at around £80m in January. United have first refusal on the former but no clause whatsoever for the latter.
Where does the link come from? Daily Express.
What did they say? ‘Manchester United could turn to Memphis Depay or Wilfried Zaha because of the difficulties of signing Jadon Sancho in the summer transfer window.’
Does it make sense? Not at all. It was complete guesswork based on the idea that United ‘attempting to re-sign one of the pair can’t be ruled out’. There was no inside information whatsoever.
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
How much would he cost? Well that depends on who you believe. It was £75m on Tuesday, £50m at the start of the month, £90m in late April and £109m or so in January. At this stage you’re probably best just sticking some numbers on a dartboard and throwing some arrers.
Where does the link come from? London Evening Standard.
What did they say? ‘Sancho remains United’s top target – but if Dortmund stick to their asking price of £100million-plus, they may be forced to look elsewhere. Havertz is on United’s radar after scouts drew up a list of candidates to solve the club’s long-standing problem position on the right of attack.’
Does it make sense? Hmm. He can play on the right but has been a revelation in a more central position. Plus he would cost as much as Sancho, if not more.
Thiago Almada (Velez Sarsfield)
How much would he cost? He has a £22m release clause but United have been linked at closer to £16m.
Where does the link come from? Tuttomercatoweb.
What did they say? ‘Manchester United working on the market for the next season. Contacts started for Thiago Almada, midfielder born in 2001 in Velez.’
Does it make sense? Fits the bill in terms of youth at 19, but is more of a left-winger or centre-forward than a long-term right-sided solution. Probably still worth pursuing.
David Brooks (Bournemouth)
How much would he cost? It was £50m when United were linked in April. That was when he was a replacement for Arsenal-bound Jesse Lingard, mind.
Where does the link come from? Manchester Evening News.
What did they say? ‘Manchester United have identified teenage Argentine winger Thiago Almada as a possible transfer alternative to Jadon Sancho. MEN Sport understands United’s recruitment team are monitoring a raft of potential targets in case their interest in Borussia Dortmund star Sancho bears no fruit. Young Wales duo David Brooks and Rabbi Matondo are among those alternatives.’
Does it make sense? Again, he is ostensibly more of a central player but has played on the right before, is British, is young and, after the equivalent of an entire season spent out injured, is presumably pretty bloody peckish.
Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina)
How much would he cost? £60m.
Where does the link come from? Gazzetta dello Sport.
What did they say? They didn’t put it online, the silly sods. But those kind enough to actually transcribe the original report said that it claimed United had taken an ‘active’ interest in a player who probably doesn’t fancy leaving Italy at the minute.
Does it make sense? Actually, yeah. Chiesa is only 22, has four full seasons of Serie A experience and is a relatively seasoned international. He is cheaper than Sancho to account for the downgrade in goals and assists, but they could certainly do worse.
Ferran Torres (Valencia)
How much would he cost? Bild reported a possible €40m Dortmund bid in April for a winger with a €100m release clause.
Where does the link come from? CalcioNapoli24.
What did they say? ‘The player’s entourage is already in contact with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Manchester City and United in the Premier League and Atletico Madrid in the Liga.’
Does it make sense? Nope. Not as a Sancho alternative for Liverpool or United.
Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
How much would he cost? A €100m offer has been rejected. ‘Dizzying figures’ have since been mooted.
Where does the link come from? Sport.
What did they say? ‘[Jorge Mendes] has a good relationship with Ansu’s camp and made an offer of 100 million euros for the kid. Mendes has spoken with Premier League clubs and there was interest. United were ready to pay that figure, giving up on Jadon Sancho to sign the Barça forward instead.’
Does it make sense? Not when Barcelona want to increase his release clause to €400m, no. Unless Ed Woodward has a lucrative noodle partnership to announce…