Man United perform a Barcelona and Real Madrid classic as Rashford plays the lead in Jadon Sancho transfer drama

James Robson
AFP via Getty Images

Marcus Rashford is taking the lead in Manchester United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho in a move that echoes the tactics deployed by Barcelona and Real Madrid.

And with Chelsea also targeting the Borussia Dortmund winger, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping the England duo’s personal relationship will give United the edge this summer.

The latest evidence of United’s determination to lure the 20-year-old to Old Trafford came with Rashford’s personal plea on social media on Wednesday.

Players are usually expected to be more guarded when discussing transfer plans - but the 22-year-old made no attempt to hide his desire to link up with Sancho.

“It obviously would be good, Sancho's a great player, a new generation player,” he said. “It's definitely exciting to watch him become the player he's becoming.

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

“Hopefully we can all play together that would be good.

“He plays off the cuff, he's creative, imaginative. I think they're the things you need to do to be world class.”

Rashford has become the figurehead of Solskjaer’s revolution – and there is no coincidence that he is the player leading the calls for Sancho to head to United.

Solskjaer had been intent on signing the former Manchester City academy graduate last summer – couldn’t convince him to walk away from Dortmund.

United believe they will be a far more appealing proposition 12 months on, with a new generation of talent emerging.

They will sell Sancho the proposition of forming one of the most exciting attacks in Europe alongside Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

Rashford’s development after just one season working under Solskjaer will be used as an example of what he can achieve.

The public courtship of Sancho has the hallmarks of tactics used by Barca and Real in the past, which have frustrated United and Liverpool in particular.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho swapped Anfield for Camp Nou in recent years after bowing to the pressure to lure them to Spain, with legends and players openly talking up the moves.

United have so far been able to resist Real’s attempts to prise Paul Pogba away – but have been stunned by Zinedine Zidane’s brazen public declarations of interest.

While Old Trafford’s hierarchy have remained quiet about their pursuit of Sancho, it is unusual to see one of their players given the freedom to discuss a transfer target so openly.

Solskjaer has made Sancho his priority this summer, with United prepared to make him the most expensive player in their history in a deal worth upwards of £100m.

Dortmund also accept he is likely to leave at the end of the season and have vowed not to stand in his way.

They are hoping Liverpool will join the race for him, but Chelsea’s interest should serve to help them reach their asking price of around £120m.

Sancho was a Chelsea fan growing up, which is why United need every edge they can get – and hope Rashford’s intervention will swing the balance in their favour.

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