Andy Cole has questioned whether Jadon Sancho seriously wants to join Manchester United but warned his former club against against panic buying a lesser alternative this summer, with Borussia Dortmund appearing to rule out a move for the England winger.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identified Sancho as his number one target at the start of the transfer window but the Red Devils failed to meet Dortmund’s £108million asking price and the 20-year-old looks set for another season in Germany.
United have been exploring a possible loan deal for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele as a result, with Solskjaer desperate to strengthen his attacking options in order to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title.
But Cole hopes United have learned from their previous mistakes in the transfer market and avoid panic buying ahead of next month’s deadline.
‘Of course fresh faces change things but I look at where we’ve been over the past few years and we’ve got to a stage where we’re making signings that wouldn’t make us any better,’ the ex-United and England striker told Goal.
‘Loads of players have been brought in but in the end the majority of players are no longer at the club, so you ask yourself the question, “Are we buying the right players?” because it’s not worked out for whatever reason.
‘Sancho hasn’t made any fuss about trying to force a move to United. If he was doing that I would turn around and think this kid really fancies going.
‘From the outside looking in it looks like he thinks, “Yeah, I will get on with things at Dortmund, I’m not really fussed about it.” So does he really want to come?
‘Previously when people have wanted to come, the player has said, “I want to go.” We’ve got two weeks left of the window and all this time nothing has happened. He’s not trying to push it.’
Cole insists Solskjaer will have to be a ‘very good salesman’ to convince a top talent like Sancho to choose a move to United over the likes of Liverpool and Man City.
‘To try and close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City they are going to have to stop buying to improve themselves. At the moment they’re vying for the same type of players. It’s a double-edged sword,’ he added.
‘When Manchester United were dominating, all the best players wanted to come to Man United and they wanted to come for a reason because they had the opportunity of winning and that’s what it’s about.
‘When you don’t have the opportunity to win you’re not going to say you will go to Man United if Liverpool or Man City are interested. Instead, you’re going to go to one of those clubs where you can win things.
‘For me, if I’m a player I would be thinking, “Have I got two or three years or do I want to start winning things now and then in three years’ time if I’ve won it three times and then they come in for me then I could consider that I’ll move then.”
‘To convince players at the peak of their playing career to join a club and a project that will take two or three years, you’ve got to be a very good salesman.’
Jesse Lingard looks set for the exit door at Old Trafford following the arrival of Donny van de Beek from Ajax and the England international is being heavily linked with Tottenham, where he would be reunited with former boss Jose Mourinho.
And in a separate interview with talkSPORT, Cole urged Lingard to consider a switch to north London if Solskjaer is unable to guarantee him the playing time he craves this season.
He said: ‘I think everyone has a role to play, but it’s to what extent you want to play that role.
‘I’m sure he wants to be a starter and I think Jesse would be the first one to admit it’s going to be difficult to start week, week out.
‘When you’re at that age, you have to turn around to yourself and ask, “Do you want to be coming off the bench or do you want to be starting week in, week out?”
‘So I think if Jesse wants to start or Manchester United are consider selling him, or whatever the situation is, the two parties will no doubt make a decision on it.’