Manchester United will not pay more than £50m for Jadon Sancho, senior club officials have told Sky Sports News.
The 20-year-old is keen on a return to the Premier League but Borussia Dortmund and United remain poles apart on their valuations, with the Bundesliga club demanding in excess of £100m for the player they paid Manchester City £8m for in August 2017.
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United remain the strong favourites to agree a deal but officials behind the scenes at Old Trafford believe Dortmund's valuation does not sufficiently reflect the costly fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and must be cut substantially if a deal is to be reached.
United are yet to make an official approach for Sancho, who has 17 Bundesliga goals and 16 assists so far this season.
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Dortmund told the German stock market on Monday that playing games behind closed doors will lead to losses of around £41m.
However, United will be encouraged by Dortmund's statement that their final figures may change depending on the transfer window which opens next month.
It appears likely that Birmingham City's Jude Bellingham could play a key role in negotiations.
The midfielder, who turned 17 on Monday and is now able to sign a professional contract with Birmingham, is expected to choose between Dortmund and United in the next few weeks - increasing the possibility of the clubs agreeing for Sancho to head to Old Trafford and Bellingham to the Westfalenstadion.
While keen to drive a hard bargain, Dortmund are conscious that Sancho has only two years left on his current contract and could leave for nothing in the summer of 2022.
Earlier this week, Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke reiterated that Sancho would only leave if their valuation was met.
"I don't think a club will pay the sum. There is also no coronavirus discount on him," Watzke told Sport 1.
United know that any potential impasse in negotiations could see a host of top clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona, step up their interest in the former Watford trainee.
England boss Gareth Southgate has said Sancho's next career move will be a "challenging" one for the teenager, while singing the praises of his development in the Bundesliga.
"He's a very talented young player - that's clear." Southgate said on The Football Show. "I think the interesting challenge is that Bayern [Munich] are the best team in the Bundesliga; RB Leipzig and Dortmund are performing well but the gap when you then work down the league is an interesting one when you compare it to the Premier League. Any step for Sancho is going to be a challenge but he's developing really well.
"If I look at his age and his contribution, he's learning the game, he's slowly maturing - there are bits he's still got to learn - and he has some fantastic role models in Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, not only in terms of how they play but also their professionalism, their desire and hunger."