At last. After a protracted 18-month pursuit, Jadon Sancho was unveiled as a Manchester United player on Friday after completing his £73million move.
The England international has penned a long-term contract with the Red Devils, becoming their third-most expensive signing after Romelu Lukaku and Harry Maguire.
The 21-year-old is back in England four years after leaving for the Bundesliga as a 17-year-old, having graduated from Manchester City’s esteemed academy.
There was a visible sense of relief around Old Trafford as Man United paraded their new signing. To say it has been a long road to getting the signing done wholly misconstrues the entire situation.
Roads can be long but are usually straight, simple and flat. On the contrary, this deal was a narrow one-way path upon a cliffside in Corsica, where at every tight turn it appeared the move was on the brink of collapse.
And that is why the very sight of Sancho holding up his No.25 shirt will serve as a delight to the United fans, who were perhaps fearful that they would be left behind by Liverpool and Manchester City this summer.
To commemorate the conclusion of this latest transfer saga, Star Sport takes a look at five other deals which featured ultra-lengthy transfer negotiations.
Will Jadon Sancho prove to be a success in the Premier League with Manchester United? Let us know in the comments section.
It was a tug-of-war battle that Sir Alex Ferguson knew he was powerless in preventing himself from losing.
Ronaldo had taken his game to another level in the 2007-08 season, finishing with 42 goals in all competitions and 31 in the Premier League.
That year, Manchester United had won the Premier League and clinched their first Champions League title in nine years. But it wasn’t enough to convince Ronaldo to stay.
After five years in England, the Portuguese star wanted out. Real Madrid were circling ominously with a view to making a big-money offer and its president Ramon Calderon had publicly revealed their intention to sign the forward.
Ferguson was dealt with a tough situation of risking antagonising his star player by refusing to sell. With only two years left on his contract, it was a matter of stick or sell.
The legendary Scot had famously remarked that he "would not sell that mob a virus" when quizzed about Real’s interest in December 2008. But as he later revealed in his autobiography, he had verbally agreed to sell Ronaldo if a world record bid arrived in the summer of 2009.
The LaLiga giants weren’t going away, though, and after they submitted an £80m offer, Ronaldo departed for the Santiago Bernabeu to become the world’s most expensive player. In the end, United were perhaps just relieved the ordeal was over.
It is strange to think that for six of his seven seasons in Italy, Kouliably has been strongly linked with a Premier League switch — and yet he still remains in Naples.
The Senegalese defender first appeared on Chelsea’s radar when Jose Mourinho was in charge of the Blues.
The Portuguese had made the central defender his top priority as a long-term replacement for John Terry. But with funds drying up, sporting director Michael Emenalo signed Papy Djilobodji for £4m instead.
That didn’t stop Koulibaly from being linked with a move to England, though, as both Manchester clubs reportedly held an interest in acquiring the defender.
It was even claimed by Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis that he rejected a world-record offer for the centre-back
"I was incorrect not to sell Koulibaly for £110m,” he said, amid reports Man City had lodged a bid for the defender.
Manchester United were also monitoring Kouliably before turning to Harry Maguire in 2019, while Liverpool were thought to have held an interest but later snapped up Ibrahima Konate.
Whether it is a case that his stock has fallen slightly or that he has aged — the defender is now 29 — that Everton are keen on bringing in the Napoli stalwart, with new boss Rafa Benitez keen to reunite with his former colleague.
Sorry Toffees fans, but this is only ending one way.
Manchester United have gone full circle as it appears increasingly likely that Paul Pogba will leave the club this summer.
Pogba joined United in a £89m deal in 2016, which remains a club-record fee, after a long pursuit of the roaming playmaker.
But with a range of mixed performances and questions over his future at Old Trafford, Pogba has consistently flirted with an exit and Real Madrid were thought to be lining up a move for the midfielder in 2018 before cooling their interest.
It then emerged Juventus had become a serious contender to clinch his signature the next year, with the Bianconeri reportedly agreeing terms with Pogba. But United demanded a mammoth £150m fee, causing talks to break down.
In truth, there has rarely been a time where Pogba has looked settled and unfazed by speculation regarding his future. And it seems the Parisian could be heading back to France with Paris Saint-Germain in a £50m deal this summer, with only a year left to run on his contract.
Against all the odds, the never-ending saga looks set to finally reach a conclusion.
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For Arsenal fans and the club, there was a rough period of 12 months where Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie left. But no departure hit them as quite as hard as Cesc Fabregas’ did.
The Spaniard had joined the Gunners as a 16-year-old from Barcelona in 2003, becoming the first in a long line of players to lead the exodus from La Masia.
Fabregas had found his home in north London and made over 300 appearances during his eight years at the club.
But when the Catalans made their interest known in bringing him home, it was an unwanted distraction for Arsenal and they turned down a bid worth £30m before the 2010-11 season.
Interest from the LaLiga giants had certainly turned his head and Fabregas turned down the club’s offer of a new contract. It seemed that a sale was inevitable, but Barca had overplayed their hand.
The Blaugrana could not afford to meet Arsenal’s demands for a £35m fee and across the whole season, negotiations continued in the background.
Eventually, Barcelona agreed a £29m fee — with Fabregas incredibly agreeing to pay £1m-a-year from his own salary to seal the deal.
It was inconceivable to Liverpool fans that they could lose their captain. He was one of their own. Sure, they had lost Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman.
But Steven Gerrard was different.
Outside of the Anfield bubble, few could blame the Reds midfielder for wanting to jump on the Chelsea bandwagon. Jose Mourinho was building a dynasty at Stamford Bridge with Roman Abramovich’s billions and had just won the Premier League title in dominant fashion.
Mourinho had personally intervened to try and convince Gerrard to join the Blues and the pressure seemed to have worked, with the midfielder handing in a transfer request just six weeks after tasting Champions League glory with Liverpool.
Liverpool fans made their feelings clear, from burning shirts printed with Gerrard’s name to protesting outside his house. They would do everything in their power to influence him into performing a U-turn.
Gerrard had been forced to hide away in his house after threats were made to the Liverpool star and he later described the ordeal in his autobiography as "most emotional" of his life, as well as recalling the time he would eat “paracetamol like Smarties”.
A week later, after Liverpool had spurned a £32m bid from Chelsea, Gerrard caved and signed a new five-year, £100,000-a-week contract. He later claimed that he had never wanted to move to Stamford Bridge, but Jose Mourinho had revealed it was “close” to happening.
How would that Gerrard-Lampard double-pivot had looked at club level? Alas, we’ll never know.
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