B/R Transfer Mailbag: Your Questions Answered on Sancho, Sane, Coutinho, More

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportApril 29, 2020

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 30: Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund gestures during the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and Borussia Dortmund at Olympiastadion on November 30, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

The world of transfer rumours is difficult to get a grip on at the moment, so this week we have opened up to questions from B/R followers about the current state of play. 

As it stands, we do not even know when the window will reopen, but there is still plenty to ponder as clubs have to continue their planning for next season.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to so many uncertainties, and this week Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward warned it may not be "business as usual" despite their continued links to huge transfer deals.

We break down some of the best questions that came through to me on Twitter and Instagram, and we begin with a question on United... 


@FPLTipser: Do Woodward's comments on transfers change anything in terms of what Man United will do? How many signings do you think they will make?

Woodward's message was smart. United are one of the few clubs in world football who can cope financially right now, but they will not want to be seen as an easy target. They want to remind people that just because United remain one of the richest clubs in the world, they are still living in the same world as everyone else.

I still believe they want to sign Sancho, but I can understand why they would want to kill off reports of him joining for over £100 million. United are not simply going to pay what everyone has been expecting them to. 

Every player's value is to drop by at least 15 per cent, according to experts I have spoken to, and I think United just want to see some realism.

I'm almost certain Sancho would have been a £100 million transfer, but that is unlikely to be the case if he moves in this window.

I still think United will make at least three signings in the next window, though, because they will want to continue the momentum of their rebuild.


@itz_Logan_: If you were faced with signing Kai Havertz or Jadon Sancho this window, who would you take and why?

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

I would say Sancho because he has been more productive than almost any other player in the world. I am almost certain he will become a superstar and I would not see him as a gamble at a big price.

Havertz is great too but has to make a smart choice about his next club after Bayer Leverkusen. There was a dip in his numbers this season, so he might take a little longer to hit the same levels and consistency as Sancho.


@djembali: Will Dean Henderson return to Manchester United for next season?

He wants to end up as United's long-term first-choice goalkeeper, and for that to happen, he needs to continue proving he can perform at the highest level.

I am told there is a good chance he would be allowed to spend another season on loan at Sheffield United. If the Blades wanted a permanent transfer, it would have to include a buyback clause. 


@MarvinJr: Are Bayern Munich still in on Leroy Sane? Or is someone else looking to land him? 

They are still interested, yes. And Sane is still keen on the idea of a move. 

Bayern are the only club he'll leave City for, but the exact financial terms need to be re-established as the game has changed since their talks at the beginning of March.

I understand that there will be fresh discussions involving all parties in a couple of weeks' time, and then we will get a clear idea of what will happen with this transfer.


@ayush1397: What's the situation with Dayot Upamecano? Which club is he going to?

The player has been expecting a move from RB Leipzig, but it's a tricky time for the club as they also face losing Timo Werner—and possibly a couple of others.

Their new issue is that they feel teams are going to haggle over the €60 million (£51.6 million) valuation of Upamecano. And my information is that they still feel the player should be worth that figure.

He is in demand, which may help them raise a bidding war. In England, there has been interest from Manchester City, Arsenal and Spurs. Now Bayern Munich are being mentioned too. 

But we are not at a stage where his next destination is clear.


@eden3497: How do you think the current COVID-19 situation will affect the transfer market, and the small clubs specifically? Are these clubs going to sell their stars in order to survive financially after this crisis?

Smaller clubs will be affected, but big ones will too. I think anyone who has been pushing the boat out financially in the last couple of years might find themselves in bigger trouble than a typically small club that has been more careful with budgeting. 

Clubs are having to weigh up if their best talent is worth keeping, or if this is a good time to sell.

West Ham and Declan Rice—a player they have brought through their academy and had planned to build around—is a good example of this. Suddenly, they are considering selling him.


@WhatDoWeKnowPo1: With what is going on currently, do you think a lot of clubs will go down the free/loan route this summer? 

Free agents might find it difficult to sign for new clubs because every team is carefully managing their wage bill and tightening the purse strings.

We have seen a high number of players taking pay cuts or deferring pay, and this will have a knock-on effect to their pay structure for next season.

Loan deals, and particularly swaps, are probably going to become more common.


@juanjoseiturbe: I would love to hear theories on swap dealsmaybe Philippe Coutinho joins Everton and Richarlison heads to Barcelona?

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Philippe Coutinho of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and FC Augsburg at Allianz Arena on March 8, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

I think opportunities like this could become feasible. Quite how genuine the reports were of Barca's £85 million offer for Richarlison in January, I am not sure.

But I do know that, at the very least, that story sent a warning to Everton that he could be on the move soon.

Coutinho wants a return to the Premier League, and realistically there are not many that will take a punt on him right now because of the finances involved with his wages. Everton are ambitious, though, so I would not totally rule it out.


@skhalifa123: Would Chelsea consider selling Kante if the right offer came in?

I think it would take a huge bid for Chelsea to sell him in the next window, but I know there are high-ranking officials at Chelsea who believe it could be a good time to cash in.

He is now 29 and some believe his best years are behind him because of his high-energy style of play.

I don't think anyone will come up with a good enough offer, though.

Real Madrid have been strongly linked, but my understanding is that we should not be expecting him to turn up at Santiago Bernabeu on the back of this pandemic, which has left La Liga in a bit of a financial mess.


@MisterKay112: Any truth about an Emerson Palmieri and Alex Sandro swap deal between Juve and Chelsea?

Chelsea are definitely keen on signing a left-back, but I was told their ideal signing is Ben Chilwell from Leicester City.

Offers for Emerson, as well as Marcos Alonso, will be listened to. One reservation I have about this rumour is whether Sandro fancies moving to England. 


@makeyourownluck: Leicester City have become known as one of the Premier League's smarter clubs in terms of signings—what do you see happening next for them?

They are lining up a load of signings, but almost all are already at the club! James Maddison is their top priority to sign a new contract while prized assets Caglar Soyuncu and Youri Tielemans are seen in a similar light. Talks are ongoing with Ben Chilwell, but he is a target for Chelsea and Man City. Leicester would sell at the right price.

If Chilwell leaves, their plan—I am told—is to test Arsenal's resilience by making an offer for Kieran Tierney. 

Elsewhere they are also in the market for another forward and are keeping close tabs on Brentford's Said Benrahma, who some see as the next Riyad Mahrez.

They are also monitoring Kalvin Philllips of Leeds United in case a big club comes in to sign Wilfred Ndidi.


@RidarKh: What made you think Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal was impossible last summer?

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal FC controls the ball during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London, United Kingd
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

I figured I might as well end on this question, as I get asked about it so often!

Pepe to Arsenal was a deal I labelled as "Never Happening." Last July I wrote: "They just don't have the sort of money to spend that Lille are looking for—his £60 million valuation is more than their entire summer budget."

Arsenal actually ended up agreeing a £72 million deal and spread payments out across the duration of a five-year contract.

So, yes, I was wrong and Pepe did join Arsenal. But I believe they will feel the strain of that deal in these  difficult times. We have already seen that they are having to ask players to take pay cuts, and I'm told up to six players are going to be sold this summer.

My view is that they overpaid for a player they couldn't really afford and didn't really need. I'm still surprised it happened.


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