Manchester United's bid to bring Jadon Sancho back to the Premier League is set to hinge on bitter rivals City having their European ban upheld.
Borussia Dortmund are demanding £100million-plus for Sancho – and United's hopes of luring the former City winger to Old Trafford suffered a devastating blow when executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward admitted that it “will not be business as usual” after confirming his club's debts had risen by almost £130million during the coronavirus crisis.
United's coffers would get a much-needed £50million boost if United qualified for the Champions League.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will resume the Premier League season in fifth place – a position which would launch them back into the Euro elite if City fail with an appeal to get their ban from UEFA competitions overturned next month.
That would strengthen Woodward's hand when it comes to testing Dortmund's resolve to keep Sancho at the club, with the high end of the transfer market expected to collapse in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic.
The Bundesliga title chasers have said they will sell the 20-year-old – but only if the price is right.
Dortmund will have to choose between reducing their valuation or keeping the England international until the market recovers.
That uncertainty helps United – but only if they can qualify for the Champions League.
That would allow them to recover some of the losses that have seen the club plunge £429.1million in the red after writing off over £30million in lost broadcasting and match-day revenues.
And Sancho himself will want to play in the top competition after experiencing it with Dortmund in the last two seasons.
United will resume the season hoping they can qualify for the Champions League without the need to see their rivals fail at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Reds are unbeaten in five Premier League games and were just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea when lockdown came.
But they would not hesitate to cash in on any City misfortune with CAS.
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