Sir Alex Ferguson was still amazed by Bayern Munich on the 20th anniversary in which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put the ball in the Germans’ goal.
“I’m a great club,” impressed Ferguson last year. “It is a club managed in the right base. Former players who really manage it, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge; they manage the club in the right way and always win the championship in Germany. They are a great club.”
This was confirmed Tuesday with Leroy Sane’s deal. Bayern wanted Sane last year, but Manchester City refused to move. Instead of buying panic, Bayern have lent to Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho to compensate for the losses of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, have walked again in the league, are well positioned to win the Champions League and have inevitably signed Sane.
A knockdown after the lockdown? Bayern paid € 49 million in advance for Sane in an agreement that could increase to € 60 million with add-ons. Sane is 24 and has received the PFA Young Player of the Year award and will be supported by the marauder Alphonso Davies. It’s a combination on the left side that could be unmatched next season.
City made a profit of £ 8.5 million on a wing they signed four years ago, hit by Sane’s knee injury which prevented him from playing for 10 months. Time will tell if Sane is as punchy as he was at his maximum, but he is young enough to recover from the rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament; the injury that all footballers still fear.
Given Sane’s dismissal, City has still cashed in on a reasonable commission after his posture which was undoubtedly stimulated by Hoeness’s support for Financial Fair Play. Young Germans who are not in Bayern aspire to be in Bayern and will always be a bigger club in the City.
Manchester United fans hope Sane isn’t the only transfer involving an elite wing and a German club this summer. Borussia Dortmund is in the same situation where the city was last year with Sane, now Jadon Sancho is in the last two years of his contract and United receives weekly updates from the Ruhr.
“We expect Jadon to play with BVB next season and we are all very happy with the quality that he brings to our side and the difference it can make,” said Sebastian Licensing Division Head Sebastian Kehl last week. It’s not exactly Comical Ali, but in Dortmund there is a state of denial. Club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted in March that Sancho was likely to be sold in the summer.
The COVID crisis could grant Dortmund a suspension until next year, but this is not at all advantageous as Sancho’s assessment would almost certainly be lower with less than a year of time remaining in his contract.
American sources have rejected Dortmund’s confidence in keeping Sancho on a leash, especially in light of its recent substitutes. The probability is that Dortmund will try to earn over £ 100 million, having sold Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona in 2017 for £ 135.5 million, when they received £ 96.8 million in advance. United has negotiated add-ons for the transfers of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes.
Dortmund allegedly rates Sancho at 130 million euros, although the Dembele affair is proof that there is room for room for maneuver. The Sane fee allows them to use a COVID time transfer as an indicator of the Sancho value; Sane recovered a commission of up to € 60 million after a start in one year and Sancho – four years younger – scored 22 goals in 44 club appearances. Its initial commission must be at least nine digits.
However, the global health crisis has already put a strain on it. “The COVID-19 pandemic, with its continued restrictions on public life and its significant effects on both the global economy and the operating business of Borussia Dortmund, has caused and continues to cause significant uncertainties,” Dortmund said in a statement this week.
Dortmund has the highest average presence in Europe but expects losses of 45 million euros. United confirmed in May that the pandemic had already cost them £ 28 million and uncertainty as to when fans can click on the turnstiles again – as well as another season without Champions League football – left the club in limbo on their transfer budget.
A clause in Adidas’s contract with the United States if Solskjaer’s team fails to qualify for the Champions League for two consecutive years, their payment would be reduced by 30%. Every move for Sancho last year depended on Champions League football and is mostly this year.
Even in the doomsday scenario of a third consecutive trophy campaign and a finish outside the Champions League seats, United has more influence than last year, with Fernandes and Paul Pogba in telepathic form and an attacking trident who has passed Liverpool’s top three. They are not a difficult sale to the targets and Sancho told City friends that he would enjoy a return to Manchester.
If the flag of the Champions League center circle returns to Old Trafford and the museum hosts a trophy, then United will have a free run for Sancho and Dortmund will almost certainly have to surrender. It would not be the first time that Solskjaer has surpassed the Germans.