FRIDAY'S BIG HEADLINES
United snare Sancho
The never-ending saga ended on Wednesday when news emerged that Manchester United had done a £73m deal for Jadon Sancho. But it was truly ended, ended on Thursday when the clubs confirmed the news that probably the third most talented young forward in world football would indeed be going to Old Trafford.
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“Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Jadon Sancho,” read a statement on the club’s official website. “The signing is subject to contractual terms and a medical, which will be completed after Jadon’s involvement in the UEFA European Championship.”
The Warm-Up is old enough to remember when Manchester United posted a very similar announcement about having reached a deal in principle to sign Aaron Ramsey from Cardiff in 2008 – but the chances of Arsenal sneaking in to gazump United for this deal seem vanishingly small.
So what are United getting for their money?
Although playing in the Bundesliga might keep you out of Gareth Southgate’s thoughts, ever so slightly, there’s absolutely no question that in Sancho, United are getting a transformative talent. Just look at the exalted company he finds himself in:
And yes, United might still be a bit of a basket case at the back (Raphael Varane incoming) and the jury might still be out on whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is an over-promoted PE teacher or the second coming of Fergie, who is banking all his ‘ta-ra Ole’ moments before he leads United back to the top of the game.
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But there’s no question whatsoever that landing Sancho makes the second scenario the ever-so-slightly-more realistic of the two.
Sancho joins an attack which already includes Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial. With the bullets being supplied, and frequently fired themselves, by Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba – who has shown at Euro 2020 what a world class performer he can be.
There’s basically no way you can amass that kind of attacking talent and not be a very effective team. Will this United collection of talents be enough to overwhelm the controlled and commanding systems built at Manchester City and Liverpool to win the Premier League?
Maybe not, but it’s certainly not out of the question. And with Sancho leading their efforts, it’s certainly going to be a hell of a lot of fun along the way. Which is at least half the point.
Ian Wright said of Bukayo Saka that the Arsenal youngster was “burdened with glorious purpose”. Which may be true. But it feels even more appropriate for Sancho, who now joins his next club with overwhelming expectations and demands, and the ability to take them back to the top of the game.
Euro 2020 is back
Mark Cavendish winning back to back stages of the Tour de France. Andy Murray putting the nation through the emotional wringer on centre court with a tortuous win over a guy who looks like he leads a folk revival band.
You’d be hard pressed to say that the past two days have been short on sporting action. But there was something missing. Something big and beautiful and sound-tracked by Andrea Bocelli.
Yes the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 are upon us and things get going when Spain face Switzerland at 5pm, before the headline act sees Italy face Belgium. This half of the draw - informally known as ‘the it’s coming home party poopers’ side of the draw is absolutely stacked and it’s subsequently tricky to offer any prediction with conviction.
Except for the fact that, in keeping with the tournament so far, it will almost certainly be dramatic. So strap yourselves in. Euro 2020 is back
It is quarter-final weekend at the Euros. That means England are back in action. That also means there will be much hand-wringing regarding Gareth Southgate's selection decisions. The Athletic, with the help of Borussia Dortmund assistant manager Rene Maric, break down the thinking behind Southgate’s team selection against Germany. Spoiler alert: there was a lot of thinking and all of it based in logic.
There may still be calls for a more open, expansive England as they meet Ukraine in the quarter-finals. But a pragmatic approach has also been a winning approach for Southgate so far, and he has been proven correct in nearly all of the tactical decisions made. It may have been another game that wasn’t easy on the eye, but as Maric outlines with his analysis, the small details matter.
On this day in 2000. David Sergio Trezeguet arched his body back, whipped his leg further back and then unleashed an unstoppable effort – a golden goal - past Francesco Toldo in the 103rd minute to beat Italy 2-1 in the final of Euro 2000.
Here it is in all its glory.
Euro 2000 was a tournament recognised by many as the greatest major finals of the modern era. Scott Murray takes us back to that especially golden summer here.
It is quarter-final weekend. So, on Friday it is Switzerland against Spain, and Belgium against Italy, and then on Saturday it is England against Ukraine and the Czech Republic against Denmark.
Taking you through the first minefield of content on Saturday morning will be Pete Sharland.
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