Jadon Sancho was a youth player at Watford and Manchester City before signing his first senior contract at Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The move came as a surprise to many including me as I can’t seem to recollect young British players making successful returns from Bundesliga apart from say Owen Hargreaves who enjoyed seven very successful seasons in Bayern Munich. The youngster has impressed one and all with his fiery pace, sharp dribbling and clinical finishing accumulating 12 goals in 34 league appearances last term. He has done well off the pitch to acclimatize himself with the new language and culture as well.
Sancho’s returns have transformed him into a key component for Dortmund, first being used from the bench by Lucien Favre to punish tiring defences. The Londoner’s dazzling displays earned him a starting spot from September on as well as an England cap in October of 2018.
Not just a goalscorer
The prolific right winger has been lethal not just with his goals but by setting up many especially forming deadly partnerships with the likes of Paco Alcacer.
-13 goals and 19 assists in 43 appearances last season
-4 goals and 8 assists in 16 appearances this season so far
With United having a young, fast and dynamic front line, the right winger could enjoy himself on the pastures of Old Trafford that have been screaming out for a natural right winger. His creativity will also help supplement the void in midfield and enhance the threat posed by current forward line.
Trouble in Paradise?
Sancho was fined and dropped from the first-team after returning late from international duty earlier in the season, and then subbed off in the first-half of Dortmund’s defeat to Bayern Munich two weeks ago with a poor performance being attributed as the cause.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently refused to rule out that the winger could be on the move in the summer.
“I can’t guarantee that he will stay here forever. I can only say: We’ll be happy if no one comes in for him.” Dortmund have made £400m over 10 years just from selling players to Barcelona, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Chelsea and PSG. Sancho looks to be the next dividend. A summer move seems possible and reports suggest that he might cost over 100 million with over two years remaining on his contract. However, with the recent bust up and United already being interested in him, an opportunistic January move lies at the mercy of Ed Woodward’s negotiating skills.
Another young player full of promise with lightning fast pace recently left Dortmund but failed to establish himself on the big stage and live upto the hype. It’s very important for Manchester United to proceed with extreme caution in the signing and development of such players with sky rocketing fees as if gone wrong would be a double whammy, for the player and the club. United can’t afford an Ousmane Dembele at this point sitting seventh in the table, nine points adrift of the top four despite winning two of their last three games.
Another concern would be a chain of events set in motion by the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. Anthony Martial was just beginning to settle into his natural No.9 position and find form when Sanchez arrived with the weight of the world crumbling on his shoulders. United’s current front three are beginning to find rhythm, Rashford being the latest to find form. Greenwood is rearing to go on the sidelines. Sancho’s potential arrival would need a juggle in the hierarchy that will need careful thought.
Sancho has been very effective in the domestic league, no doubt but has not made the equal impact in the Champions League. He is young and inexperienced but the big stage pressure situations against the big boys sometimes reveals if a player is just riding his form or otherwise. It’ll be a very important factor as the minute he lands in England, his stats against the top 6 will be segregated and used as a criticism against his price tag. It was also something for which Lukaku was crucified by the press.
Media have done a brilliant job at crowning Sancho the next big thing and suggesting he’s the solution to all our problems if brought in. Its time for scores of scouts and employees behind the scenes to earn their money in separating the reality from the hype. Bringing in the Englishman will be a statement signing and first of the 6 positions(RW,ST,CAM,CDM,CDM,LB) to be reinforced in my opinion. He fits the bill in terms of the profile of players Ole is looking for – Young, British and fast. Whether he wishes to play for Manchester United is a question waiting to be answered. For now, United will be looking to defeat Sheffield United in order to boost Champions League hopes next season, a prerequisite i’m sure for the likes of Jadon Sancho’s signature.