Manchester United are not giving up on signing Jadon Sancho this summer, despite Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc suggesting the England international will not be sold.
The 20-year-old winger - who is valued by his club at £108m - has travelled with the Dortmund squad for their pre-season training camp in Switzerland.
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As it stands, the transfer fee, agent fees and personal terms with the player all still have to be agreed.
Dortmund and agents are not making talks easy, and any deal would be easier if United could negotiate directly with the German club.
Dortmund previously indicated they wanted a deal completed by the time they headed out for their training camp to give them sufficient time to purchase a replacement, and sporting director Zorc says Sancho will now be staying in Germany next season.
"We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season, the decision is final. I think that answers all our questions," Zorc told reporters on Monday.
He added: "Last summer, we adjusted Jadon's salary to match the development of his performances. So in context, we had already extended his contract until 2023 back then."
Sancho was pictured at a party in the UK over the weekend but Dortmund have no issue with that and said: "It's common and fine for players to go home before a training camp if they're not risky. The same goes for Jadon (Sancho). From our point of view, the pictures that have been shown to us so far do not violate."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, when asked about Zorc's comments following United's victory over Copenhagen in the Europa League, said simply: "I can't comment on other teams' players."
But United are looking at alternatives, notably Kingsley Coman on loan from Bayern Munich.
Sancho worth up to £162m?
The Football Observatory values Sancho at £162m, using a methodology that factors his contract status, age, international level and many more metrics. Meanwhile, transfermarkt.co.uk proposes a £105m price tag, using their own valuation algorithm.
United's chances of convincing Sancho to come to Old Trafford will have been enhanced by them qualifying for the Champions League, but they also see the German club's €120m (£108m) valuation for the player under the current coronavirus conditions as "unrealistic" for a player who Dortmund themselves signed for £7.2m three years ago.
The club are also unwilling to break their wage structure for the 20-year-old following the unsuccessful transfer of Alexis Sanchez.
United have completed big-money moves for Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes in the last two transfer windows but feel the environment for deals has shifted since the coronavirus pandemic - with fees reflecting the tough financial conditions.
Have we been here before?
Dortmund sporting director Zorc has a habit of making bold statements about his top assets.
"Ousmane Dembele has a long-term contract [until 2021] and we are making definite plans with him," Zorc said in 2017.
"There are no negotiations [with Barcelona]. Ousmane is going to be playing for Dortmund in the coming season."
Two months later, Barcelona reached an agreement to sign Dembele for a club-record fee.
Analysis: Sancho saga will go on and on
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
"The Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has been speaking, and it's bad news for Manchester United supporters. He has said Dortmund are planning next season with Jadon Sancho and he has said he will be playing for them next season. The back story to all this is that United want to sign him, they have made him their No 1 transfer target but Dortmund had said they wanted it sorted out by today [Monday].
"Even though the transfer window is open for another two months, they said today [Monday] is the deadline because it's the day their pre-season training camp started in Switzerland. Sancho is at the training camp, and as far as Dortmund are concerned, that is the end of the matter - he is staying.
"He is the sporting director at Dortmund so he knows everything that's happening. I'm not saying that he is not speaking the truth, but there's another two months still to go of the window. Just because United have not made a bid before this self-imposed deadline, does not mean they are not going to make a bid in the next two months.
"Dortmund are talking tough, saying he is their player and they are planning a future with him. But if United do meet the asking price, I'm sure Dortmund would accept it. It's a really interesting development and it just shows that this saga is going to go on and on.
"We've got a player who is valued at €120m, Man United are trying to get him for less than that, but Dortmund are well within their rights to say he's going nowhere unless they have that valuation met. Zorc is saying it's finished, Sancho is staying, but I wouldn't believe 100 per cent what he's saying.
"I still think if United make a big bid, they can still get him, and also what happens to the player himself? A lot of this ends up with what the player wants. United are being very quiet but Dortmund are doing things exactly the way they should. They have placed a value and the player has not agitated for a move, he's gone to the training camp, and he has not handed in a transfer request.
"United have let it be known that it would be totally irresponsible for them to pay €120m on one player, considering what is happening in the world, so I would find it very difficult to see them paying that amount in full. In the current economic climate, I do not think anyone will pay £108m on one player. Something has to give, one way or another - unless Sancho stays at Dortmund.
"If he does, he's only got two years left on his contract. If United wait until next summer, other clubs could be in a position to come in for him. The message Dortmund are giving is consistent - if you want Sancho, you have to pay €120m."
The Sancho deal was one of the topics of debate on the latest edition of the Transfer Talk podcast, where ESPN football expert Gabriele Marcotti joined Sky Sports News duo Pete Graves and Dharmesh Sheth to discuss the latest major developments from the summer window.
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