Back to the drawing board Manchester United go.
Borussia Dortmund’s announcement confirming the signature of Erling Haaland was met with surprised glances across Europe, but particularly at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed to think his side were leading the race for his fellow Norwegian’s signature – right up until he was pictured signing a contract and holding aloft a yellow and black shirt.
The Bundesliga outfit had to pay RB Salzburg just £18million for the privilege of procuring one of the Champions League’s greatest young talents.
Inevitably, United are going to have to pay more than that if they go in pursuit of one of their alternative targets, as listed in The Sun.
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The emergence of Mason Greenwood – also known as the reincarnation of Robin van Persie – has made these signings a little less urgent but United are still rumoured to be monitoring five players ahead of the January window opening.
Haaland’s arrival at the Westfalenstadion does beg the question of whether Sancho will be on his way out sooner rather than later.
The England international has been a huge success at Dortmund but has had disciplinary issues this season and has reportedly felt scapegoated for some of BVB’s poor results.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is indisputably the main man at Arsenal now, scoring more since his debut than any other Premier League striker.
That has relegated Lacazette to a supporting act and while he’s started both of Mikel Arteta’s first two games in charge, the Frenchman hasn’t scored in five league games. That means he won’t be many United fans’ preferred option.
Everton look rejuvenated under Carlo Ancelotti so the Brazilian international suddenly has far less incentive to leave. The forward would also be expensive for what you get out of him – eight goals and four assists so far this season.
He isn’t even the Toffees’ top-scorer as he sits behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Richarlison has always looked a talent since moving to the Premier League with Watford but having cost £50m, Everton are not going to let him leave for any less than that.
Nobody in the British isles has forgotten about Dembele after his spells with Fulham and subsequently Celtic.
A record of 25 goals in 49 Ligue 1 games for Lyon have earned him a price tag of over £70 million and a bidding war could be further complicated by interest from Chelsea and Arsenal.
Maddison is, of course, a playmaker rather than a forward but he has been linked with United for months now.
The 23-year-old has five goals and three assists in the Premier League this season but he might take some persuading to leave Leicester, who sit three places higher than United in second.