Last summer Manchester United took a calculated gamble when they decided not to meet Borussia Dortmund's demands over Jadon Sancho.
Throughout their pursuit of the player there was hope that the German club would eventually become open to negotiation around the fee. There was optimism that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have Sancho available in a red shirt for the 2020/21 season and personal terms were pretty much in place for when the time came.
But Dortmund never did cave in. They set their price at €120m and even set a deadline date of August 10 for the offer to arrive. They stuck to that price - which converted to over £100m - and United had to walk away.
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Powerful figures at Old Trafford were completely unconvinced it was a fair valuation of the 20-year-old England international, particularly during a pandemic. They were not going to go into that territory for the first time, and break their own transfer record, at such an uncertain moment. Had Dortmund been more open to a discussion it is felt United would have been willing to pay somewhere in the region of £80m. But in the end there was nothing to pursue. United decided they could wait another year.
Since then Sancho has extended his contract at Dortmund until 2023 but the financial situation and performance levels at the Bundesliga club have taken a heavy hit. This week the club announced they made a loss of €26 million in the first half of the financial year. They also axed head coach Lucien Favre, but have not replaced him, and the team sit sixth in the league table - outside the Europa League place, never mind the Champions League spots. They have won only one of their last six games.
Sancho himself has struggled for form at times. His first league goal did not arrive until January - 14 games into the season. His overall numbers have improved since that point, perhaps some confidence recaptured, but still, 8 goals and 13 assists from 26 appearances does not make him as valuable as last season when he recorded 20 goals and 20 assists from 44 games.
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On the back of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its colossal impact on football through empty stadiums, a drop in the value of TV rights and - for Dortmund - the threat of no Champions League football next season, these are worrying times. And it looks like United's gamble not to pay up for Sancho was a good one.
They are in the Premier League title race and are beginning to look ahead to the summer window and whether Sancho can become part of the team. They still want him, no doubt about that. But the goalposts have moved and now they would not even offer £80m for him.
At a time when transfer fees and contracts throughout the game are being reconsidered, some sources close to United are suggesting that an opening offer next summer for Sancho could be closer to £50m.
Such a figure would not spark much excitement around Signal Iduna Park yet they have to seriously consider what happens as they move forward. If Dortmund fail to achieve Champions League football, keeping Sancho and Erling Haaland will prove almost impossible. Yet no club in the world is likely to break the bank for them, knowing the club's situation.
Dortmund are expected to bring in boss Marco Rose from Borussia Monchengladbach as Favre's replacement but are also believed to be scouting new options in goal, with Roman Burki's position coming under some threat. They also need to look at big-name players in other key roles as Emre Can and Marco Reus are under scrutiny for below-par performances. And on top of that, midfielder Jude Bellingham has eyes on him from Chelsea in the Premier League.
Caretaker coach Edin Terzic has the task of turning around Dortmund's fortunes before the end of the season and a strong few months from here is vital to the club.
Sancho is almost certain to be playing elsewhere next season but time will tell how much he is truly worth - and whether he is the only star name heading for the exit. All we know for now is there is no chance of Dortmund getting that nine-figure sum they were hoping for.
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