Manchester United are closing in on Daniel James amid growing fears they will miss out on top target Jadon Sancho this summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful a deal for the Swansea winger will be agreed imminently – telling Ed Woodward he wants his summer business to be concluded by July 1.
It is believed the fee for the 21-year-old could rise to between £15-20million with add-ons.
But United look set to have to shelve a move for Sancho until next summer at the earliest, with Borussia Dortmund holding firm over their insistence that the England international is not for sale.
Solskjaer identified the 19-year-old forward as the perfect profile for the squad he wants to build at Old Trafford.
United were prepared to pay in excess of £80m for the former Manchester City starlet – making him the most expensive Englishman of all time. And they were convinced a bid of that size would convince Dortmund to sell.
But in a summer when the Germans will lose Christian Pulisic to Chelsea for £58m, there is no financial pressure to sell Sancho.
Meanwhile, United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League raises the question of how willing the teenager would be to give up playing in that competition.
Solskjaer has identified the right of attack as a priority position to fill, along with right-back, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a target.
Although James largely operates on the left for Swansea, he is genuinely two-footed and seen as being able to solve United’s problem on the right.
Solskjaer has also been attracted by his blistering pace – identifying that as another area of his squad in desperate need of improvement.
United have firmed up interest in James in recent weeks and the anticipation is that he will become Solskjaer’s first signing.
The Norwegian has told the club’s recruitment department they need to be better at unearthing emerging talent, rather than relying on marquee signings and fully-established players.
After the high-profile failures of superstars like Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Alexis Sanchez, Solskjaer has made a point of monitoring younger players, who still have room for development.
Sancho and James fit that profile – even if their valuations are at very different ends of the scale.
The hope is that James will develop into a major star in the manner of countrymen Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Source: Evening Standard