There are further twists and turns to come – but you can’t help but think that it’s very much advantage Manchester United this summer.
A move four years in the making, England forward Jadon Sancho is now a United player after German side Borussia Dortmund finally decided to play ball and sanction his £72.9million return to the Premier League.
If that ‘problem position’ was the priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then a subsequent move for a new centre-back wasn’t far behind.
In truth, weighing up the cost against experience, quality, medals and everything else Raphael Varane brings to the table, the recruitment team could have done no better there, either.
Make that 2-0 to the red half of this footballing city in the transfer window.
Of course, United might not go on to reclaim that Premier League trophy which has eluded them since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 – but they are, undoubtedly, stronger.
As things stand, champions Manchester City have yet to formally respond to that double statement of intent.
However, when they do so, it might ultimately bookmark their own recruitment drive; at both ends.
Jack Grealish is no doubt one of the hottest properties in England right now and, across Europe, for that matter.
His swashbuckling performances, decorated with a trademark headband and miniature shin pads in tow, have not only added to his commercial value, but his stock as a top-rate footballer.
City and United know all-too well how important both of those qualities are.
It will take a colossal £100million to lure him, but that should prove money well spent.
Indeed, this is not to detract from what Grealish will offer City – and we don’t need to speculate how popular he might have been at Old Trafford – but there are, at least, two outstanding questions Pep Guardiola and his own scouting unit ought to have answered first: an upgrade at left-back is one, replacing Sergio Aguero is the other.
Either side of his Euro 2020 exploits, it looked for all the world that Harry Kane might be that man. Goals would be guaranteed. As the focal point in a star-studded City side, exactly how many was anyone’s guess.
However, the pursuit of Kane has turned messy at the Spurs end, and it may well be a case of City signing one or the other, given the amount of pieces that need to fall into place for the Blues to be able to afford both.
Jack Grealish is now the Man City transfer priority – over Harry Kane.
(Image: Matt Dunham – Pool/Getty Images)
That would be a bitter blow for the England captain, of course, but a huge plus for United and their Premier League rivals.
There is no doubt Solskjaer would want Kane – or Erling Haaland – to boost his United side.
However, while the club will have to ‘make do’ with wily Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani for another 12 months, they could, ultimately, be boosted should Kane stay put.
United have ticked two empty boxes this summer. City might merely add to their selection dilemma.
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