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Sanchoís Future Could Determine Unitedís January Shopping List

Last season, the first full campaign under manager Erik ten Hag, it appeared as though Manchester United had taken a giant stride forward. They finished third in the Premier League and won the Carabao Cup. But fast forward to the present day, and the malaise feels all too familiar. Reinforcements are once again needed. But Jadon Sancho’s future could be the determining factor.

The facts are clear where Manchester United are concerned; they’re off the pace for the top four and look like a team bereft of a plan and any sort of confidence. They’ve gone from being the team favourite to win on a matchday where Premier League betting odds are concerned to a team many think could be on the end of a defeat, and now United must act fast if they’re to right the ship and save the season.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25% buy-in has been announced, and it’s a positive step forward. But it’s what happens in the January transfer window that could be the determining factor for what’s to follow from the start of the year through May. And one man who could and probably will prove pivotal is the exiled Jadon Sancho, with his future at Old Trafford unclear.

Sancho, 23, arrived at the club from Borussia Dortmund in a mega-money move in 2021 after delivering the goods in the Bundesliga, but the winger has never lived up to the billing and has previously fallen foul of manager Ten Hag’s ways. But the relationship between the pair has now broken down completely, and Sancho is likely to exit the club in the not-too-distant future. There have been reports of tentative loan enquiries, but this wouldn’t necessarily allow Ten Hag to do work on his squad in the winter window.
The Dutchman knows there have been significant failures where recruitment is concerned, and will want to press on and address them at the earliest opportunity. But he will need the club to generate funds to make that possible, with United walking a tightrope where FFP is concerned.

However, if Sancho were to leave the club permanently in January, it could be an entirely different situation, and one that Ten Hag would relish, especially with Ratcliffe's people set to take over the football operations at the club.

The stumbling block could and would be Sancho himself, who is unlikely to bow to United’s wishes if it’s not something that doesn’t work for him. The Londoner is contracted to the club until 2026 and will be unlikely to move on elsewhere if he’s going to be forced to take a pay cut. His salary is what has so far put many clubs off, as they’re unable to match it.

The final hope could be that clubs from the Saudi Pro League retain an interest in Sancho, as they have the finances to get a deal done. But United may have missed the boat with the mega money spending in Saudi for now, which could mean everything transfer-wise will be on hold unless an agreement is reached with Sancho in the short term that works for both parties.

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