Jamie Redknapp has told Pitch to Post he is convinced Manchester United will land their No1 transfer target Jadon Sancho by the end of deadline day, but why is he key and where else must they strengthen?
United had a £91m bid for Sancho turned down by Borussia Dortmund this week and are in talks about a loan signing for Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.
However, Sky Sports pundit Redknapp is confident United – who face Tottenham on Sky Sports at 4.30pm on Sunday – will eventually convince Dortmund to cash in on England international Sancho, ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on Monday.
“It hasn’t gone through yet but I think it will,” Redknapp told the Pitch to Post preview podcast.
“You see certain transfers and it is ebbing that way. There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and when Manchester United call, or any big club, there’s always a premium on players.
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“Dortmund want to get as much as they can for someone like Jadon Sancho. I get that. But I think he’ll be a Manchester United player by the end of the window.”
United have focused their attentions on Sancho during this window, and Redknapp says adding competition to the frontline could be just what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need if they are to achieve success this season. While defending champions Liverpool have a clear front three to their attack, there are merits to having players fight for positions too, says Redknapp.
He also believes Untied should move swiftly to prevent other European heavyweights making a move for Sancho in the future.
“I personally think if they didn’t sign Sancho in this window it wouldn’t be the end of the world but if you can get him, of course you want quality around you,” he said.
“The beauty of Liverpool is the simplicity of every week, when everything’s right, you know what the front three is going to be: Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah. It’s easy for the manager to a certain extent.
“But at United, if you don’t bring another player in because you’ve got Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford… Solskjaer obviously feels that one of them isn’t quite right and he wants to bring in a player to maybe add some competition.
“If he felt he had the front three and didn’t need Sancho he wouldn’t even be looking for him. But he’s a game changer.
“If you don’t sign him now who knows, he might end up going to Barcelona and you end up kicking yourself. I’m sure everyone would want him.
“There are times when you’ve got to pay up and go and buy a player, a big player. I know it’s a lot of money but it’s only in relation to when they signed Wayne Rooney, who was the best young player in the country, maybe one of the best in the world at the time. You had to pay top dollar for him and when you want to buy the best young players the premium is so high.
“But if you feel he’s going to make the difference for you, you’ve got to go and get him. It’s as simple as that. If that means upsetting a Martial or someone like that, well unlucky.
“Competition, at times, is what you need.”
Where else must Man Utd strengthen?
Redknapp also believes United need to improve at the back. The club have invested heavily in recent seasons to bring in Harry Maguire for £80m, Victor Lindelof for £31m and Eric Bailly for £30m and while Redknapp doesn’t believe big spending is the only solution, he says the club must find a way to shore up their defence.
“I understand there are problems at the back but they’ve thrown so much money at the problem,” said Redknapp. “You can’t keep buying players. Yeah OK, you want a bit of pace at the back. They tried to buy pace with players like Bailly, who hasn’t really worked out.
“You’ve got Maguire who has been a good signing but you always feel he needs a little bit of pace alongside him, just in those sharp moments when there’s fast feet and he sometimes struggles with that. But it’s easier said than done.
“Everyone is searching for players. Look at Chelsea – I’m sure they’d love to go and get a young centre-back, the one for the future, the next Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand, but they’re really hard to find.”
Listen to the Pitch to Post podcast
Listen to this week’s Pitch to Post Preview show to also hear Redknapp on how United will get on against Tottenham in their Sky Live Super Sunday clash, and why Liverpool are “red hot favourites” for the Premier League title. Plus we tell the story of Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola’s relationship, and get the latest from Sheffield United and Wolves. Plus Adam Bate makes his bold Pitch for something he expects to happen this season…
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