Transfers

Did Manchester United really bid £150m for Ansu Fati?

Reports from Catalan radio suggest the Barcelona starlet was an Old Trafford target but the timeline, nor the fee, makes sense

4:00am on Tuesday 6th October 2020
By
Team FC

Ansu Fati - was he ever really going to sign for Manchester United as claimed in sections of the Spanish media?

It's a story that has been doing the rounds for much of the year, and none of the rumours have any foundation in direct quotes from anyone. In stark contrast to the Jadon Sancho saga, which has been carried out very publicly, Ansu Fati moving to Manchester bounced from Spanish to English tabloid and back again.

The embryonic stages of this story begin in June, when superagent Jorge Mendes allegedly contacted Barcelona with a £90m offer from Manchester United. Mendes did not represent the player at the time but made the offer nonetheless, which in itself makes doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Concurrently United's pursuit of Sancho involved intense deliberation over the fee; United not willing to go higher than £80m, with Dortmund holding firm on their valuation of £120m.

Then, this week, it emerged that a team had now bid £150m for Fati, but Barcelona had instantly rejected the offer, citing Fati's new, improved release clause of £400m as the 17-year-old's valuation.

All the while, United won't budge on Sancho, neither will Dortmund and the deadlock is likely to go late into the window, if - and it's a big if - it happens at all.

Which means the idea of United, in this covid-affected market, haggling over Sancho, and even playing hardball with Porto for Alex Telles at £20m, bidding £150m for a teenager just isn't believable.

Some of the rumours claim this obscure Twitter site as a source, but all roads lead back to Mendes, who - you've guessed it - is now representing Fati.

It's Mendes making absolutely clear to Barcelona the value of his client. It's Mendes making sure that his client gets the best possible contract renewal. And it's Mendes ensuring that if his client doesn't get what he wants, he has all the contacts - and media manipulation needed - to get his player a move elsewhere.

So did Manchester United bid £150m for Fati? Almost certainly not. But did they become a useful pawn to maximise Fati's long-term value? Definitely.

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