Although the summer transfer window was mostly around the Sancho saga, he is still with Borussia Dortmund.
There are conjectures that United will revive the movement with renewed interest next summer, but according to German football expert Honigstein the club would have to take a very different approach if it is to finally land the coveted star. “In sporting terms, Dortmund are happy that he stayed,” Honigstein said.
“The irritation from their point of view was that they were very proactive. They understood that United were in the running and they understood that Sancho was tempted to go there. They also realised fairly early on that there wasn’t anyone else bidding against United, so they set out their terms.”
August 10 was the deadline with an asking price of €120 million. “Dortmund knew if they sold Sancho in September or October, the €120 million would look pretty in the bank, but to them it was of no use because they wouldn’t find anyone who would be value for money. Clubs would be quoting them double the price they would usually because they would all want the Sancho money.
Once the deadline passed, United laboured under the delusion that the price would come down. But if anything, it entrenched Dortmund’s position that he couldn’t leave. Once they went public with that, a reputational aspect came into it as well. Once you tell your team, your manager and the whole public that he’s not leaving, it’s almost impossible to climb down.
The expert said that displayed a lack of understanding on Dortmund’s position and hurt them in as much that, if you then want to pursue your B, C and D options, they should’ve done that from August 10, not September 10 or October 1. They ran out of time and the knock-on effect of pursuing Sancho in the manner they did was damaging to them.”
Honigstein also said that United’s failure to discard fringe players earlier in the window, in addition to the tighter financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, played a part in Sancho failing to arrive at Old Trafford.
But he maintains the lack of planning ought to be viewed as a “huge failure” after Dortmund had outlined the terms for selling their primary target.