Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz are expected to be the two biggest transfers of this summer—but how close are we getting to their moves?
A report in Bild (per Daily Mail) suggests Borussia Dortmund are setting a deadline of August 10 for a deal to be struck over Sancho, with Manchester United expected to make an offer.
Bayer Leverkusen's Havertz is beginning to push for the exit door, and his future will become more clear over the next fortnight. Chelsea appear to be in the driving seat, but how can they seal the deal—and why are they chasing him?
Here, with help from sources in England and Germany, we break down how the two deals are looking right now.
Mason Greenwood's emergence as an option on the right side of United's attack has been a major bonus for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since the restart. He's going to be a big part of the club's future, but he is also expected to become a centre-forward in the coming seasons, so his great form has not deterred their pursuit of Sancho.
After a run of 17 games undefeated, Solskjaer is in a strong position to direct the United board and owners on what the team needs to reach the next level, and sources insist that a new elite attacker is the priority.
Ideally, that man is Sancho. They have put in plenty of work on background and character checks, and they believe he would add an X-factor to their squad that will push them closer to competing with Liverpool and Manchester City.
The issue is how much they are prepared to pay.
Reports last week suggested United value him at £50 million, but that is not true. Ideally, the club would not want to be spending more than that amount because of the uncertainty over next season—specifically whether they will be playing UEFA Champions League football and when fans will return.
But realistically, there is an awareness that there is no chance of signing a player like Sancho for £50 million, even with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transfer market.
One source, who is not directly involved with the deal but works as an intermediary in the game, suggested to B/R that we could try to predict what the eventual fee will be based on what we know so far.
"We know United will have to pay more than £50 million, but also they will not meet his £118 million valuation under any circumstances," the insider told B/R.
"United won't want to break their transfer record at this strange economic time, so any offers in advance of the £89 million they paid for Paul Pogba are unlikely. Yet last summer they paid £80 million for Harry Maguire, so Dortmund can use that as leverage to how the club values key first-team players."
Sancho, with his goals and assists, has an added premium—so perhaps we are looking at around £85 million, which converts to approximately €95 million, as the sort of figure that might make this deal possible.
That would make him Dortmund's second-most expensive departure in history, behind Ousmane Dembele, who left for £112 million to join Barcelona.
Other sources say agents fees need to be considered as part of the Sancho agreement. When negotiations move forward, that will be one of the elements that might be used to drive up the price.
Whether or not the deal happens might come down to the player himself. United know Sancho has a strong desire to sign for them, and he might need to make that clear to keep the price at a level that United are willing to pay.
Chelsea have identified this as a perfect time to sign Havertz—particularly because of the potential lack of competition for his signature.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have both had interest in the player but will struggle to come up with a suitable financial package at the moment. Bayern Munich want him but can't do the deal until next year after agreeing to sign Leroy Sane, who was their top target for this window.
Havertz wants to leave Bayer Leverkusen, so the Premier League has become a much more realistic option than was expected four months ago, with Chelsea the club making their interest most known.
It seems strange given they have already signed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, and they also have a lot of other options in the forward positions.
But sources indicated to B/R that it could be due to the fact that manager Frank Lampard is frustrated with Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The player recently signed a big new contract and was expected to become a poster boy at Stamford Bridge, but in recent times there have been concerns about his attitude, Chelsea insiders say.
It has opened the door for them to consider signing another star forward in the 21-year-old Havertz.
The player has two years remaining on his contract but is seeking a transfer this summer, with Leverkusen looking for €100 million if he is to go.
Chelsea are going to sell up to six players this summer, which will help Lampard shape his squad for next summer.
Matt Law of the Telegraph reported Havertz is keen on the prospect of joining Chelsea.
Negotiations between the Blues and Leverkusen are expected to move forward in the next week, with Chelsea officials hoping they can convince the German club to drop their price expectations.