Manchester United are exploring alternative options after being pushed back by Borussia Dortmund in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho and are reportedly turning their attention to teenage Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati.
United have been heavily linked with a big-money transfer for Sancho this summer but failed to meet the German’s club’s August 10 deadline, prompting sporting director Michael Zorc to rule out a deal and state that Sancho will remain in the Bundesliga for at least another season.
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It remains to be seen if this impasse can be overcome, but according reports from Spain the Manchester club, and their chief executive Ed Woodward, have begun to run the rule over a host of other target – with Barcelona star Fati, 17, understood to be on the list.
They are likely to meet resistance in their pursuit, with the Barcelona hierarchy understood to be keen to retain the services of one of the top prospects to emerge from their La Masia academy in recent years.
In fact, Sport.es claim that Fati’s release clause is set to jump to an astonishing €400 million ($471 million), a fee which would all but rule out a transfer to the Premier League unless the player requests a switch, which is thought to be unlikely.
In addition to Fati, another Barcelona forward, Ousmane Dembele, has been mentioned in the press as being a potential target for Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. The Frenchman joined the Catalan club in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund for a fee which could rise to €145 million ($170 million) including add-ons, but could be available for a fraction of that following a series of underwhelming appearances.
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Barcelona are understood to want to trim their world record wage bill this summer as they face a financial downturn in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, with several players deemed surplus to requirements – including former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Martin Braithwaite and Arturo Vidal.