Manchester United were 'extremely close' to sealing deal for Watford's Ismaila Sarr last summer


Manchester United were ‘extremely close’ to sealing deal for Watford’s Ismaila Sarr last summer, reveals Hornets’ former technical director who insists winger’s ‘time will come’

  • Ismaila Sarr joined Watford in a £31million deal from Rennes in summer of 2019
  • Winger shone in the Premier League and is now impressing in Championship
  • Watford’s ex-technical director admitted Man United wanted him last summer

Watford’s former technical director Filippo Giraldi has revealed that Manchester United were ever so close to signing Ismaila Sarr last summer.

United focused all their attention on signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund last summer but the German outfit held firm in their demands and wanted in excess of £100million for the England international.

And after realising a move for Sancho wasn’t going to materialise, United went in for Sarr – with Watford demanding a fee of £40m for the winger.

Manchester United were in hot pursuit of Watford winger Ismaila Sarr last summer

Manchester United were in hot pursuit of Watford winger Ismaila Sarr last summer

And now Giraldi has opened up on United’s interest and revealed just how close the Premier League giants came to wrapping up his signature.

When quizzed on United’s interest in Sarr, Giraldi said on the Here We Go podcast: ‘We were extremely close, I was personally negotiating with them. 

‘We weren’t able to reach an agreement. And I think Ismaila is very young, he will arrive for sure. 

‘He missed probably an opportunity, but I think also for his football to stay here and get 10 goals and 10 assists, he’s deciding the league. I think for Watford in the condition they are at the moment it’s luck he stayed. 

‘I love Ismaila because he has the ability to affect the game every time he plays, and that’s quite rare. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United came 'extremely close' to signing the winger last summer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United came ‘extremely close’ to signing the winger last summer

‘You see fast wingers becoming more and more important in physical leagues like the Premier League. I remember last year against Manchester United and Liverpool, he was the one with Gerard Deulofeu on the other side affecting the game and deciding the game every time.

‘This type of player are players you have to try to maximise and protect them as much as you can.’

Sarr, who also attracted heavy interest from Liverpool, shone in the Premier League before Watford got relegated.

The 23-year-old winger grabbed five goals and six assists last term in the top-flight and he has continued his strong form for Watford this season.

Sarr has nine goals and as many assists in 33 Championship games with Watford on course for a straight return to the Premier League.

After failing in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils turned their attentions to Sarr

After failing in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils turned their attentions to Sarr

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