It’s been a funny old summer at Manchester United.
Fast forward a matter of weeks, and there is a far gloomier outlook lurking over the Theatre of Dreams.
The Jadon Sancho deal, in particular, has been wrought with hiccups and mishaps. Sancho wanted the move. Personal terms were even agreed, but three days before the window slams shut, Sancho is still a Borussia Dortmund player.
United’s dealings with a notoriously stubborn Dortmund quickly grew into a full-blown saga with the German side insistent that their €120 million valuation was met. The Manchester giants were always struggling to match that enormous fee, and it seems they may have finally given up the ghost.
The Dortmund sporting director has been an immovable object throughout, and his comments on Friday prove that stance is unlikely to change.
Missing out on his number one target will come as a crushing blow for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but he has no time to nurse his wounds.
United is left with just 72 hours, and they have to get someone through the door.
At this point in the window, that infamous panic button begins to pulsate in front of managers. With Sancho off the cards, Ole may have just reached for it, having shifted attention to his Plan B.
Rumors that out of favor Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele is warming up to a move to Old Trafford have been gathering tractions for days now. The French star represents an option similar in ilk to Sancho, but he would arrive with far more baggage.
Dembele is made of glass–there is no other way to say it, unfortunately. According to TransferMarkt, the 23-year-old has missed a staggering 80 games through injury , completing a full 90 minutes just ten times in Catalonia.
As much as Dembele is a very talented footballer, you can’t turn a blind eye to the possibility that the physio bench might see more of him than the Old Trafford turf.
Another worrying aspect of Dembele’s time in Barcelona has been his apparent lack of professionalism . Even Lionel Messi had to rebuke him about his conduct publicly. He is constantly late for training, if he turns up at all , and is criminally laid back in practice.
It just seems that that the Frenchman doesn’t take the business of being an elite athlete very seriously.
As Ole goes about rebuilding Manchester United, he needs his playing staff 100% on board. They can’t afford the added weight of an unenthusiastic passenger and, in Dembele, that might be precisely what they get. Watch the video below:
It has to be remembered that, initially, Dembele wasn’t interested in United. As exciting as it is that he may have changed his mind, one can’t help but worry that the novelty of a new club in a new land may wear off very quickly, with factory settings being restored in the process.
That mindset may worsen if he is only there on loan.
One thing is for sure: Dembele represents a massive gamble and screams of a panic move in the dying embers of a tricky window.
A talented footballer, no doubt, but is he the man to take United to the next level? Only time will tell.