Transfer Talk podcast: Man Utd became deluded over Jadon Sancho fee, says Raphael Honigstein

After a dramatic transfer deadline day, Pete Graves and Dharmesh Sheth are joined by German football expert Raphael Honigstein to discuss the winners and losers from a frenetic final 24 hours in the market.

The panel assess Manchester United’s final-day acquisitions of Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles and if their arrivals will signal an upturn in fortunes following the club’s poor start to the new season.

Honigstein also analysed the failure behind United’s bid to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund…

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‘A poker game with someone not at the table’

The summer transfer window was dominated by the Sancho saga, but the England international remains a Borussia Dortmund player.

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It has been suggested that United will return with renewed interest next summer but, speaking on the Transfer Talk podcast, Honigstein believes the club would have to take a very different approach if they are to finally land the coveted star.

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“In sporting terms, Dortmund are happy that he stayed,” he began. “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.

“More important than the €120m asking price was the deadline of August 10. Dortmund knew if they sold Sancho in September or October, the €120m 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.

“United either didn’t want to or couldn’t do the deal on Dortmund’s terms, and then spent two months playing a poker game against somebody who wasn’t even at the table.

“It showed 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 admitted that United’s failure to offload fringe players earlier in the window, in addition to the tighter financial constraints caused by the coronavirus 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.

“I would make one excuse for Manchester United in this particular window which is that money is so tight,” he added. “Clubs have been trying to have a positive or at least neutral net transfer spend, and a lot of clubs waited for players to move on before they could buy.

“That domino effect took a long time to get going for various reasons. It’s not just a lack of planning that made things more fraught and panicked towards the end of the window. It was just an effect of how weird the market was.

“For United, a failure to move some of the players on was a problem and they spent a long time chasing their No 1 target but wouldn’t commit to getting it done. That still needs to be seen as a huge failure.

“When your entire transfer window is built around the pursuit of one player and you then don’t manage to sign him, something has gone wrong.”

‘Cavani can’t have been part of United’s plan’

United were very active on the final day of window with Edinson Cavani the headline signing as the club also completed deals for Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo.

Cavani, 33, has signed a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months and is expected to wear the club’s iconic number seven shirt.

Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth said: “At the start of the window, would it ever have been part of United’s plan that on deadline day they would be bringing in a 33-year-old striker on loan?

“I can’t imagine it was, when they were talking about Sancho, Alex Telles and the potential of signing a centre-half. It can’t have come up. This is a 33-year-old who hasn’t played football for seven months who is coming on loan.

“I can’t imagine that it could’ve been in the plan.”

Honigstein added: “It’s a really interesting signing as it doesn’t seem to fit into the reboot we’ve been hearing about at United. At the same time, by all accounts, Cavani is an unbelievably professional player with his presence and his dedication to his craft.

“This will have a positive effect on the young players around him, especially in attack, and of course he is somebody who will score you goals if you serve him properly.

“On a one-year deal, I feel it is the stop-gap solution that can help you but it doesn’t really do anything in terms of growing the team or the club to be back where they want to be. He’s the opposite of a Timo Werner. Werner is going to be at Chelsea for the next five or six years as your No 1 striker, or maybe your second striker.

“Even if Cavani does incredibly well, United are going to still have to go back into the market soon to find the next Cavani. It’s not a criticism but it’s the one factor that United have to be aware of.”

Analysis: Winners and losers of the window

Deadline Day has passed and it is time for supporters of Premier League clubs to reflect on their transfer business. Many will be excited, some unsure, and others frustrated.

Everton and Aston Villa are first and second respectively in the Premier League table with new signings playing a key part in their strong starts to the season.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s poor results at the beginning of the campaign have highlighted the weaknesses in their squad that have still not been addressed.

As for Burnley, what must Sean Dyche make of it all?

Read the full verdict on the winners and losers of the transfer window

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