Chelsea prospect Billy Gilmour has joined newly promoted Norwich City on a season-long loan.

Gilmour joined Chelsea from Rangers aged 16 and made his first-team debut two years later under Frank Lampard in August 2019.

The midfielder quickly impressed but has struggled to hold down a regular starting role.

Thomas Tuchel, who replaced Lampard earlier this year, can also call on N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in that position and oversaw a Champions League final triumph against Manchester City.

Chelsea have therefore agreed to send Gilmour to Norwich in order to gain experience of top-flight football.

'EXCITED TO BE HERE'

"I'm very excited to be here," Gilmour said. "I can't wait for the season ahead.

"I've been looking forward to coming here, playing as much as possible and helping Norwich City compete in the Premier League.

"I spoke to the head coach here. He called me and we had a nice talk about how he wants to play and how he sees me fitting in.

"Everything he said was what I want to do on the pitch, get the ball down and play nice football. He spoke really highly of his team and I wanted to come join here and help."

SKIPP REPLACEMENT

The Canaries last season had Oliver Skipp on loan from Tottenham in the centre of their midfield as they won the Championship.

Skipp had only one goal and one assist in 47 Norwich appearances in all competitions but completed 88.1 per cent of his passes, won 55.9 per cent of his duels and recovered possession 5.6 times per 90 minutes.

In 22 career games for Chelsea, Gilmour is yet to register a goal involvement, although his passing accuracy is a favourable 89.0 per cent.

While the 20-year-old's duel success rate is down (47.8), a comparable 5.8 recoveries per 90 should see him fit into Daniel Farke's side.

SCOTLAND STANDOUT

Gilmour's transfer had been anticipated since he excelled for Scotland at Euro 2020.

The Chelsea man was limited to only one 76-minute outing against England due to a subsequent positive coronavirus test but impressed on his full international debut.

Gilmour completed 90.9 of his team-high 44 passes, also leading Scotland with 24 in the opposition half.

Although he won just two of 11 duels and conceded two fouls, Gilmour made a pair of tackles and recovered possession eight times en route to scooping UEFA's Star of the Match award.

England goalkeeper Tom Heaton has joined Manchester United on a two-year contract.

Heaton, who won the last of his three international caps in 2017, was available on a free transfer after his contract expired at Aston Villa.

The 35-year-old began his career at Old Trafford, graduating through the youth ranks and spending 13 years on the club's books.

He did not make a first-team appearance and embarked upon several loan spells before joining Cardiff City in 2010.

He arrived at Burnley via Bristol City, with his career taking off under Sean Dyche. Heaton played 188 league games for the Clarets and earned all his England caps while at Turf Moor.

A serious shoulder injury saw him lose his place for club and country to Nick Pope, while Heaton's injury curse struck again midway through his first season at Villa in 2019-20 when he suffered anterior crucial ligament damage.

"For me to have the opportunity to come back after spending 13 great years here as a kid, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m really, really excited to get started.

“I'm just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give and I’ve got the bit between my teeth.

“I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers."

Heaton is likely to begin the season as third choice, with David de Gea and Dean Henderson vying for the number one spot under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Sergio Romero's departure

Of goalkeepers to have played 100 or more Premier League games since the start of the 2013-14 season, Heaton has the seventh-best save percentage at 70.7. De Gea is fifth on the list (71.6 per cent), with Pope (73.9 per cent) top.

Juan Mata has agreed a new one-year contract with Manchester United after his previous deal at Old Trafford expired.

Mata, who joined United from Chelsea in January 2014, had just become a free agent, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed talks were planned at the end of the 2020-21 season.

A fresh agreement will keep the 33-year-old at Old Trafford for another 12 months.

Mata has scored 51 goals and supplied 41 assists for United in 273 matches in all competitions.

The former Spain international was restricted to only 18 appearances, 10 starts and 860 minutes last term, although he was absent from United's matchday squad for seven and a half weeks following the death of his mother in March.

Mata returned for the run-in and scored United's winner on the final day of the Premier League campaign at Wolves.

The midfielder created 2.2 chances per 90 minutes for the Red Devils last season, trailing only Bruno Fernandes (2.69) and Luke Shaw (2.23) among players to feature five times or more for United.

United's statement on Friday described Mata as "a magician on the pitch and a gentleman off it" and "one of the most popular players in recent United history".

The club have already announced a deal in principle to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while a move for Real Madrid's Raphael Varane is also mooted.

Are Manchester United set for a busy transfer window?

After finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and losing in the Europa League final, United are keen to strengthen.

A trio of stars are reportedly on the club's shortlist.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT THREE MORE PLAYERS

Manchester United are targeting three more signings this off-season, according to The Guardian.

United have agreed a deal to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants more.

The Red Devils are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, though Villarreal's Pau Torres has also been linked, with Tottenham star Harry Kane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice also on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- Italy and Roma full-back Leonardo Spinazzola is attracting interest from Madrid following his exploits at Euro 2020, reports Calciomercato. LaLiga rivals Barcelona have also been linked.

- After agreeing to sell Sancho, Dortmund are eyeing PSV's Donyell Malen and RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg, reports Sport Bild.

Paris Saint-Germain are planning to announce the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Inter star Achraf Hakimi and former Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma within 15 days, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ramos has agreed to sign a two-year deal in Paris.

- Antena 2 claims James Rodriguez is in talks with Serie A runners-up Milan over a move from Everton.

United are prioritising a contract extension for star Bruno Fernandes, says Romano. Fernandes has flourished since arriving from Sporting CP.

Madrid have joined Milan in the race to sign United and Portugal full-back Diogo Dalot, claims Calciomercato.

PSG have emerged as the only likely suitor for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after United signed Sancho, reports Calciomercato. However, a move depends on whether Kylian Mbappe leaves PSG for Madrid or Liverpool.

Alexander Isak has signed a contract extension with Real Sociedad that ties him to the LaLiga club until the end of the 2025-26 season.

The Sweden striker has scored 26 league goals in Spain since arriving from Borussia Dortmund, while he also found the net seven times during a successful Copa del Rey run in the 2019-20 campaign that ended the club's 34-year trophy drought.

After helping his country reach the last 16 at Euro 2020, Isak has committed his long-term future to La Real, who reached an agreement with Dortmund over a buy-back clause earlier in the offseason.

According to reports in the Spanish media, the new deal for the 21-year-old – who has been linked with a move to the Premier League – sees his release clause rise to €90million.

"I'm very happy to continue at La Real. It is a great club, I feel loved here and hope to enjoy things with this team for many more years," Isak said.

 

Real Sociedad finished fifth in LaLiga last term, good enough for Europa League qualification.

Isak scored 17 times in the domestic competition and while unable to grab a goal for his country during Euro 2020, his performances helped Sweden top a group that included Spain, Slovakia and Poland.

Their run in the tournament came to a dramatic end at Hampden Park on Tuesday, however, as a last-gasp winner at the end of extra time saw them go down 2-1 to Ukraine.

Cristiano Ronaldo has not signalled that he wants to leave Juventus and will soon join up with his team-mates for pre-season training, according to football director Federico Cherubini.

Portugal international Ronaldo is into the final year of the four-year contract signed when joining from Real Madrid in a €112million (£99.2m) deal.

The 36-year-old has been tipped to leave Turin ahead of the new campaign, with former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid among those to have been linked, along with Paris Saint-Germain.

Speculation over Ronaldo's future comes amid a period of change at Juve, with Massimiliano Allegri returning as head coach and Cherubini replacing Fabio Paratici, while Maurizio Arrivabene has been named CEO.

However, speaking at a news conference on Thursday to officially mark his appointment, Cherubini dismissed recent reports that Ronaldo is looking to move on during the current transfer window.

"There has been no signal from Ronaldo," he said. "Especially [on] the rumours that there should be a transfer. There's no sign from Juventus in this regard.

"Last season he scored 36 goals in 44 games. The numbers don't always say everything but hide many truths. 

"We are happy that Ronaldo will join the team as soon as he has finished his holidays."

 

Ronaldo is being given an extended break after featuring four times for Portugal at Euro 2020.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner could not fire the reigning European champions beyond the last 16, where they fell to Belgium, but he did score five times to equal Ali Daei as the leading all-time goalscorer in international men's football on 109.

Ronaldo scored 29 times in 2020-21 to win the Capocannoniere, meanwhile, having previously also been the top scorer in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Since joining Juve in July 2018, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than Ronaldo's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over that period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Speaking about his club future ahead of Portugal's ultimately underwhelming Euros campaign, Ronaldo said reports of interest from rival clubs were causing him "no sleepless nights".

Asked to clarify if Ronaldo will still be a Juventus player in 2020-21, Cherubini said: "I don't have a crystal ball. Right now, there are no signals regarding a possible transfer. But let me reaffirm: I'll be happy if he stays."

 

Juve announced on Wednesday that a cash injection of €400m has been sanctioned to help redress the financial damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian club's analysis of the cost of the pandemic's impact suggests they are set to lose €320m in total between 2019 and 2022.

President Andrea Agnelli, who led attempts to form a breakaway Super League, used Thursday's news conference to discuss the magnitude of the financial problems now facing football clubs in general. 

"UEFA knows the whole situation in all leagues. UEFA estimates a liquidity need of around €8.5bn for the clubs," he said.

"There's a risk that around 120 clubs will be at risk of insolvency in the short term. Some operations have been announced on the debt side and I'm thinking of Barcelona, Inter, West Ham, Porto for significant amounts.

"Then there are capital increases such as Roma, Atletico Madrid and we are here too. We fit into this context. It's important that the shareholders support the growth of this club. 

"The ownership is one of the strengths of this club, I say this as president and a member of the family."

Agnelli also reiterated that he expects Juventus to compete in the Champions League next season, despite the ongoing fallout from the Super League plans.

"We have calmly received the letter from UEFA admitting us to the next Champions League," he said. 

"On our part there's a willingness to talk and we are not afraid of the threats that have been made in recent months and are convinced that legal actions will lead to successes."

Lionel Messi became a free agent on Thursday, but Xavi believes it is a matter of time before the captain and record goalscorer re-commits to Barcelona.

While away with Argentina at the Copa America, Messi has been focusing on that tournament, and as July arrived there was no word of a new contract at Camp Nou.

That meant his previous deal expired, making Messi potentially available to suitors that may wish to sign him.

Interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain has appeared to go quiet amid an assumption that Messi will stay with Barcelona.

Former team-mate Xavi feels Messi is moving closer to signing again with the Catalans and would put money on the 34-year-old doing so, even if small doubts linger.

"These are market circumstances, we have to wait," Xavi said. "I imagine he is talking to the club and the president.

"I wish Leo the best, as a friend of his and as a cule [a Barcelona fan], I wish him to continue at Barca. Hopefully, it can be announced as soon as possible."

Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Xavi, who is coach of Al Sadd, added: "If I had to bet, I would say that he will continue at the club, although many things have been said in football, but I would say that he will continue.

"Leo needs Barca and Barca need Leo. He is happy in Barcelona; he has spent his life there. I would bet on him renewing."

Messi was again hugely influential for the LaLiga giants last season, finishing as the league's top scorer and managing 38 goals and 12 assists across all competitions.

He created 117 chances for others and netted a goal every 110.32 minutes, when taking all competitions into account.

Jordi Alba was next on the list of the most chances created, teeing up 85 goalscoring opportunities, while of players with more than five goals, Antoine Griezmann had the next-best minutes-per-goal ratio, with one every 195.2 minutes.

 

In terms of the most games played, top-flight rookie Pedri finished top of the pile with 52 games, and he has since gone on to play for Spain at Euro 2020.

Pedri will then go on to the Olympic Games and will have had barely any break by the time LaLiga gets under way in 2021-22.

Barcelona are reportedly unhappy at the demands placed on the shoulders of the 18-year-old midfielder, but Xavi thinks such experiences are priceless.

He said: "If I were Pedri, I would go to the Games. I had the opportunity at the time, and they are opportunities that do not return.

"He is 18 years old and footballers want to play. It's a unique opportunity to go to the Games. If you ask Pedri, he will tell you that he is excited."

Borussia Dortmund head coach Marco Rose is confident Borussia Dortmund can adapt to life without Jadon Sancho once the winger completes a move to Manchester United.

BVB confirmed on Thursday an €85million (£72.9m) agreement is in place with United for the England international, which will make him the Red Devils' fourth-most expensive signing.

The transfer will officially go through once the 21-year-old completes a medical and agrees personal terms following the conclusion of England's Euro 2020 campaign.

Sancho arrived at Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017 and scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances for the German side across all competitions

He is the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and had at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the past three seasons.

Rose accepts Sancho's exit will leave a void in attack, but the new BVB boss intends to adapt in order to get the most out of the players available to him.

"Jadon's qualities are unpredictable. Every coach likes to have a player like Jadon Sancho on his team," Rose said at his introductory news conference on Thursday.

"We knew there was a chance Jadon wouldn't be here next season. We'll try to replace him and find solutions. We see opportunities in repositioning ourselves in certain areas."

 

Only champions Bayern Munich (99) scored more Bundesliga goals than the 75 Dortmund managed last season, but they let in 46 at the other end of the field.

That tally was bettered by Bayern, Union Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig, and Rose hopes to improve on that record in his first season in charge.

"BVB conceded too many goals last season. We will tackle that," he said. "We want to stabilise the defence without neglecting other aspects of our game.

"We have to be flexible and play different ways. We want to master three at the back and four. The diamond is an interesting system, too.

"What matters is where the boys feel comfortable. We have to play the type of football that people here can identify with.

"The way we want to play is already clear in my head. It then depends on which players you have in the squad and the basic structure also depends on it."

While Sancho's future is close to being resolved, there remain plenty of questions regarding fellow attacker Erling Haaland.

Haaland has scored 57 goals in 59 games in all competitions since arriving at Dortmund from Salzburg in January 2020 and has been linked with numerous heavyweight clubs.

The Norway international previously worked with Rose at Salzburg and the Dortmund head coach has not been surprised by the prolific striker's development.

Asked how he would describe the past 18 months for Haaland, Rose said: "Like a rocket! But I have to say it didn't surprise me.

"We have spoken on the phone and exchanged messages. He is not in training yet and has another few days off."

Manchester United have confirmed an agreement in principle has been reached to sign Jadon Sancho, who will complete his move after Euro 2020.

Sancho is set to become the fourth most expensive signing in United's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku, after the Premier League club agreed an €85million (£72.9million) fee with Borussia Dortmund.

United were keen on the 21-year-old last year but could not drive through a deal at the time, with Dortmund reluctant to sell one of their chief assets.

However, the Bundesliga club confirmed on Thursday they have agreed to sell the winger who arrived at Signal Iduna Park from Manchester City, with the Red Devils ready to conclude the transfer once the player has finished representing England at the ongoing European Championship.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Jadon Sancho," a short statement from United read.

"The signing is subject to contractual terms and a medical, which will be completed after Jadon's involvement in the European Championship."

 

Gareth Southgate's England face Ukraine in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in Rome on Saturday.

Sancho has featured for just six minutes in the tournament so far, despite scoring 50 goals and providing 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund.

He became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three straight seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since former United star David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

Indeed, only Thomas Muller (48) and Lionel Messi (43) have managed to provide more assists at that league level since the start of the 2018-19 campaign than Sancho (41).

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to have another attacking option to add to his squad; they begin the new Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford on August 14.

Jadon Sancho will join Manchester United in an €85million (£72.9million) deal after asking for a move to Old Trafford, Borussia Dortmund have confirmed.

The England winger has been a long-time target of the Premier League giants, who negotiated a deal during recent weeks and have now reached agreement with Dortmund.

The 21-year-old Sancho will become the fourth most expensive signing in United's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku.

United were keen on Sancho last year but could not drive through a deal at the time, with Dortmund reluctant to sell one of their chief assets.

Now, though, they have been persuaded to part company with a player who scored twice in their DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig seven weeks ago.

Since joining Dortmund in 2017, Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions. He is currently on duty with England at Euro 2020.

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a news conference: "This is done explicitly at Jadon's request. We would have liked to keep him. But he has behaved fantastically. We are sad that he is leaving, but we will surely find a solution."

 

Dortmund said in a statement to the Frankfurt stock exchange: "The player Jadon Sancho is about to change from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United.

"Both clubs and the player reached agreement in principle today."

Dortmund also confirmed the fee, adding: "The formal processing of the transfer is also subject to a successful completion of all required medical tests and examinations, a coordination procedure with the player's former club as well as the orderly and timely processing in accordance with the provisions of the FIFA Transfer Matching System (FIFA TMS)."

Manchester City, from whom Dortmund acquired Sancho in 2017, will receive a cut of the transfer fee.

Sancho is the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and had at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the last three seasons, while playing at that high level.

Lionel Messi received a cheeky approach from Newell's Old Boys as the superstar's boyhood club suggested he join them after his Barcelona contract expired.

Messi became a free agent when his Camp Nou deal ran out at the end of Wednesday, and it was shortly after midnight in Argentina when Newell's made their play for the 34-year-old forward.

"Hi Leo, are you there? In Argentina it is just now July 1 ... [Nothing ventured nothing gained]" Newell's tweeted.

They issued that thinly veiled invitation for Messi to join them at 24 minutes past midnight in Argentina, including a photograph of Messi in a Newell's shirt.

It was a picture taken when Messi paid an emotional tribute to Diego Maradona, who briefly played for the Argentine club in the 1993-94 season.

Messi idolised Maradona and he wore the 1993-94 Newell's top, bearing his hero's number 10, underneath his Barcelona kit for a game against Osasuna in the wake of Maradona's death last November. It was revealed when Messi scored a stunning goal in a 4-0 victory.

 

Messi spent time in the Newell's youth system before moving to Barcelona in 2001, yet the prospect of an imminent return to club football in Argentina looks slim for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

A new deal at Barcelona has been long in the works and, barring any late hitches, is expected to see Messi commit to the club where he has played all his senior club football.

Reports in Spain have pointed to various hurdles that Barcelona must overcome before announcing any new deal for their captain and all-time record scorer, with staying within the club's spending limits being of paramount importance.

It seems more than likely, though, that Messi, who was wanted by Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain when he attempted to leave Barcelona last year, has been persuaded his future should remain in Spain.

With France out of Euro 2020, Kylian Mbappe has time to mull over his club future.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been linked with Real Madrid.

Liverpool have reportedly entered the frame too, while PSG are eager to re-sign him.

 

TOP STORY - MBAPPE REACHES PSG DECISION

Kylian Mbappe has informed PSG he is not planning to sign a new contract, according to L'Equipe.

The 22-year-old France international does not currently want to extend his current deal which expires in mid-2022, the sports daily reported.

Mbappe will respect the final year of his contract with PSG as suitors circle for his signature.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have agreed terms with Jadon Sancho and now have set their sights on West Ham's Declan Rice, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Tottenham's Harry Kane. The Guardian claims they are all on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish list.

- Bild claims United are also interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, who has one year remaining on the his current contract.

- Son Heung-min is expected to sign an extension with Tottenham regardless of Kane's decision on his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal, Milan and Roma are all interested in RB Leipzig's Austria international Marcel Sabitzer who is set to be allowed to leave on a cut-price deal according to Bild.

- The Daily Mail reports Manchester City will open talks with Raheem Sterling on a new deal following Euro 2020 where he has starred with three goals for England. Sterling, who has two years left on his current deal, fell out of favour at City late last season.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is officially a free agent with his Barcelona contract expiring but the Catalans insist they are in the process of confirming a new deal.

The 34-year-old Argentina international's Barcelona contract expired on June 30, amid speculation of a move away from Camp Nou which he has called home since 2000.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta conceded the situation was not ideal but said negotiations were ongoing.

"We are doing well but you have to fit a deal into the financial fair play," Laporta told reporters on Wednesday.

"We want him to stay and we are excited for him to stay. I wish I could tell you that Leo is staying but I can't say yet. We are in the process of finding the solution."

Messi expressed a desire to leave Barcelona last off-season, with a growing dissatisfaction with the direction of the club on and off the field.

The Argentine remained with Barcelona bound by a clause in his contract, referred to by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu who has since been replaced by Laporta.

Messi, who is currently in Brazil with Argentina competing at Copa America 2021, is widely expected to stay at Barca.

Barcelona have spent the past 18 months attempting to trim their wage bill, having been significantly impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messi's previous contract, signed in 2017, was worth approximately €500m over four years.

The Argentine has won 10 LaLiga and four Champions League titles during his time at Barcelona although they have not won the domestic league since 2019 and the continental crown since 2015.

Arsenal have made an offer for Italy international Manuel Locatelli and lead the race for his signature, claims Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali.

Sassuolo midfielder Locatelli, 23, has impressed at Euro 2020, scoring two goals for Italy in the 3-0 win over Switzerland and helping the Azzurri reach the quarterfinals by stepping up during Marco Verratti's injury-enforced absence.

Locatelli's performances, combined with a strong 2020-21 campaign for Sassuolo who finished eighth in Serie A, have garnered attention with Carnevali confirming strong interest from Arsenal and Juventus.

"Juventus are the only Italian club we talked to about Locatelli," Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia. "They have interest, we spoke to [director Federico] Cherubini last week.

"We have not yet discussed the financial details, but we have a good rapport and will talk it over soon.

"It’s true that there are foreign clubs interested, including Arsenal, and so far they are ahead and are the only side realistically to have made an important proposal for Manuel."

Spanish pair Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also been linked with Locatelli, who flirted with a switch to Juventus last off-season.

Carnevali added: "We are trying to leave the lad calm, so I haven’t spoken to him or his agents yet. We can think about Locatelli’s future but above all we care about his present and that means Italy doing well at the Euros,"

It is expected that Sassuolo will demand €50m for the former Milan youth product, who joined Sassuolo on loan in 2018 before signing permanently in 2019.

Jadon Sancho is finally set to become a Manchester United player, with Stats Perform understanding a fee has been agreed with Borussia Dortmund.

Sancho, currently on duty with England at Euro 2020, has become a star since making the decision to leave Manchester City and head to the Bundesliga in 2017.

The 21-year-old, who has only made one European Championship appearance so far for Gareth Southgate's team, will reportedly cost United £72.9million (€85m) and has been a long-term target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Indeed, a prospective move to Old Trafford for Sancho was one of the major talking points ahead of the 2020-21 season, but United have had to bide their time.

It appears they are to finally get their man. Using Opta data, Stats Perform assesses just what Sancho can bring to United, as well as how he stacks up against some of the Red Devils' current attacking options.

TAKING DORTMUND BY STORM

Sancho had to be patient upon his arrival at Dortmund, but by the end of the 2017-18 season he had broken into the first team, scoring once in 12 league appearances.

He went from hot prospect to star turn in a stunning 2018-19 campaign, however, and has made 137 appearances in all competitions for the German side, playing 9,901 minutes and scoring 50 goals from 100 shots on target.

Since Sancho made his Dortmund debut, only Erling Haaland (57) – another rumoured United target – and Marco Reus (51) have scored more goals, while Sancho has also provided 57 assists, easily a team high.

Sancho has crafted 285 chances, 104 more than any of his Dortmund team-mates, with Raphael Guerreiro (181) ranking second, while he has created 65 'Big Chances', those which Opta define as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score.

Among players in Europe's top five leagues, only Sancho and Lionel Messi have created over 180 chances, scored at least 30 goals and provided more than 40 assists in all competitions since the start of the 2018-19 campaign.

COMPARISONS TO UNITED'S CROP

Sancho's close friend and England team-mate Marcus Rashford all but confirmed the move to Old Trafford on social media on Tuesday, and he will be one of the wide players competing for a place in United's attack.

In 104 Bundesliga appearances, Sancho netted 38 times, averaging a goal every 197 minutes. That betters Rashford's ratio of a strike every 223 minutes in 79 Premier League appearances for United, while Anthony Martial (55 goals from 167 games) and Daniel James (six goals from 48 appearances) also fall short of Sancho's goals-per-minute average.

Of the quartet, James leads the way in terms of shooting accuracy (63.41 per cent), though Sancho's shots-to-goal conversion rate of 33.63 per cent in the league is far better than any of the three United forwards, Martial (24.02) the closest to him.

Though perhaps not as versatile as Rashford and Martial, who can both lead the line as well as play out wide, Sancho has recorded 45 assists, 15 more than Rashford (30), 19 more than Martial (26) and 38 more than James (seven), while his chances created total of 219 tops the comparison table by some distance – Martial ranking second with 177.

The former City youngster's dribble success rate of 52.21 per cent is also clear of his soon-to-be fellow United wingers, while his passing accuracy of 84.18 per cent could just prove the difference as United look to mount a title challenge, with Rashford, Martial and James not quite so consistent when it comes to the final ball.

Another player who could be competing with Sancho for a place in the side is Mason Greenwood, who has played much of his football on the right flank for United.

The teenager scored 12 goals in all competitions last term, four fewer than Sancho.

Sancho, who played fewer minutes, boasted a better shot conversion rate in the campaign – 21.33 per cent from 75 efforts, compared to 12 per cent of 100 attempts – while his 18 assists is over three times more than Greenwood's tally of five.

Despite his struggles cementing a place in the England first team, the numbers suggest Sancho should have little trouble fitting in at Old Trafford.

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