Manchester United are trying the same thing again and hoping that this time there is a different outcome, in another startling example that Ed Woodward is simply unable to do his job properly, if the report is true
United have already missed out on Ivan Perisic and Pedro in recent years because Woodward refuses to simply meet the asking prices for the players that the club wants, instead trying to drive a hard bargain that is not there to be had.
The latest player who could be the target of yet more prevarication is Sevilla defender Jules Kounde. The 22-year-old central defender has impressed consistently in La Liga, and has a £68 million release clause. However, United are unwilling to meet that fee given the financial impact of the coronavirus and hope to find a compromise fee with the Spanish club.
United missed out on Jadon Sancho last summer when they refused to meet the sum demanded by Borussia Dortmund, and it seems another stand-off could be on the way for the club as they look for a replacement for the underwhelming Victor Lindelof. In truth, United also need a replacement for Harry Maguire but there is only a small chance that the club would be prepared to cut their losses for a player who cost £80 million only a couple of seasons ago.
The Daily Mail reports that United will not activate the clause, something that might backfire given the interest from other, bigger sides.
Barcelona are credited with an interest, as are Real Madrid. The paper reports that United might instead look to Real for a new defender, as Sergio Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and is free to sign a pre-contract arrangement with another club outside Spain, and his partner Raphael Varance could also be a target.