John Murtough must learn from past mistake with first Manchester United signing
Man Utd are closing in on the signing of Jadon Sancho as talks continue with Borussia Dortmund over his signature
It seems only a matter of time before Jadon Sancho eventually becomes a Manchester United player, four years after the club initially enquired about him ahead of his exit from the other half of Manchester.
His touted transfer appears to be a case of 'when' rather than 'if' given Borussia Dortmund are open to selling their star winger, the only remaining hurdle is that of agreeing a suitable financial package.
It's a position United found themselves in not so long ago, most notably within their pursuit of club captain Harry Maguire, who eventually signed after a tedious saga which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side try to lower the asking price before eventually giving into Leicester's demands.
This summer United will be hoping to avoid any similar scenario and getting a deal done quickly might very well be the perfect opportunity for new football director John Murtough to make a positive first impression on supporters in his new role.
Murtough has already been playing a big role behind the scenes in recent years, stemming from his arrival under David Moyes back in November 2013. The Liverpudlian was involved in United's overhaul of the academy and recruitment department, this summer he will be looking to put his stamp on the first team now that he is the public face of the club's transfer policy.
Supported by Matt Judge in the new title of director of football negotiations, an early piece of business this summer can be the first sign of recognisable progress since the reshuffle and would be a telling indicator that the club are learning from past mistakes.
It is understandable why United are keen to pay as little of a fee upfront and bulk out the overall costs of a deal for Sancho with performance-related add-ons, but there comes a point when the footballing needs of the club outweigh the business ones.
Last summer United left their business late in the window and it was no surprise to see that deadline day arrivals Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani both took a while to settle in as a result. Having new faces at the club for the start of pre-season would be a real bonus to Solskjaer's preparations for next season.
It is no quirk that teams who get the bulk of their business done early are usually the ones which are run the best, with deadline day deals often highlighting the recruitment issues at clubs who are left paying a premium for players as the transfer window slowly draws to a close.
Given that United know exactly what it will take to sign Sancho this summer there is little excuse to get drawn into lengthy negotiations while haggling over a fee, instead they need to strike while the iron is hot and signal their lofty ambitions with a world-class addition early on.
A year ago Dortmund established their reputation as stern negotiators and it seems certain United will need to compromise their own stance if they are to get a deal done quickly before switching focus to signing a new centre-back.
From a business point of view caving into Dortmund's demands might not make much sense, but after years of neglecting the football needs of the club it is time to pay the price and get a deal done.