Reports of Jadon Sancho potentially moving back to Manchester United have been going around ever since United secured a Champions League place for the 2020-21 season. While it’s anyone’s guess when this could all be over, here’s my take on why he needs to be signed by the Red Devils.
Jadon Sancho has made quite a name for himself ever since his surprise move to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. A young English leaving his homely shores to an opportunity abroad is not a path many players had traversed, but Sancho went ahead anyway and set the Bundesliga alight. While his story has now become an inspiration for many up-and-coming players, it is a common belief that it’s time he came home.
Ever since the start of August Sancho’s name has been linked with Man United in a very casual matter-of-fact tone, as if it’s just bound to happen, an apparent turn of events. But as we move into September, there’s no update. Manchester United has not even made direct contact with Borussia Dortmund. The two clubs have been communicating indirectly via multiple media outlets, much to everyone else’s frustration.
Why is Man United the only option?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the footballing world in varying degrees. Every club has been badly affected in one way or the other. Fortunately, Manchester United has been one of the few clubs who have been dealt a kinder hand – they neither had to furlough their staff or make the players take a pay cut.
Other big clubs like Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern have been wary of the COVID-19 implications and have either spent sporadically or refrained from entering this summer’s market at all.
Juventus and Barcelona’s are also not much keen on massive spending either – they’re more inclined to lessening their wage bills.
Chelsea had been strongly linked with Sancho a few months back. But an immediate demand in other areas of their squad and season-long abstinence from buying any players have meant they’ve gone big this summer – the likes of Thiago Silva, Malong Sarr, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and Ben Chilwell have already been secured, as Chelsea finalize their own marquee signing for the summer in Kai Havertz.
Manchester City has been rumoured to be interested in bringing Sancho back. Still, neither City nor Sancho is keen on the idea, with City rather busy landing the most significant transfer of all time in Lionel Messi.
With all the big players incidentally out, Manchester United have found themselves unchallenged for the signature of Jadon Sancho.
What’s the hold up?
On paper, the situation looks simple. Borussia Dortmund have set a $143 million price tag for Jadon Sancho; give them the money, and the player’s all yours. On the other hand, Manchester United is trying to negotiate a lower fee and a possible setup of payment in instalments over the next years. The two haven’t yet made an official contact, and neither are willing to budge from their position.
Manchester United have declared they will not be bullied into paying the full amount for Jadon Sancho. Incidentally, they said the same thing on record last year when they were in the market for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, and Bruno Fernandes, before they gave in and paid the demanded fee anyway.
On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc announced earlier that Sancho would be going nowhere and playing for them next season. Funnily enough, he said the same thing on two different previous occasions – when Ousmane Dembélé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were rumoured to be wanting away. Both times he said they’d be going nowhere. Both times, they did.
The history of both clubs eventually giving in has turned this into a game of “Who Blinks First?” with either party waiting for the other to budge.
Borussia Dortmund has recorded a loss in its revenue over the last quarter, indicating they’re not immune to the effects of the Pandemic either. On the other hand, Zorc recently revealed that Jadon Sancho’s contract, which was believed to be expiring in two years’ time, was extended to another year, giving even more reason to Dortmund’s stance over Sancho’s transfer fee. They don’t have to sell Sancho, but they won’t mind if they’re paid the amount they want. The extended contract also means Dortmund can happily enjoy Sancho’s services for another year, after which the market will hopefully have revived a bid, and there could be a potential bidding war over the young Englishman.
Why should United sign Sancho?
Manchester United hasn’t really been able to sort out their right-wing position ever since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to the left side, before eventually moving on to Madrid. It’s been a patchwork of players who didn’t last very long in that position, a situation that is imperative to be dealt with now.
United’s options at the right-hand side last season were Dan James and Mason Greenwood. Dan James arrived onto the scene with stellar performances against Chelsea and Southampton earlier previous season, but those performances dried soon enough. As a young 22-year-old who moved from a mid-table Championship club in Swansea City, James had always required time to settle in. Moreover, Swansea’s best performances came from the left-hand side, where he’s arguably much better and more comfortable. There’s a good chance United will try to bed him into the next season’s left side.
On the other hand, Mason Greenwood exploded towards the back end of last season with an array of goals while playing in the right-wing. His consistent performances guaranteed him a starting berth, with many even considering him to be the answer to the right-wing problem. The issue is that he’s just 18, and with Solskjær not trusting James with his recent performances, leaves Greenwood as the only option, which is a lot of pressure to be out on a teenager. Moreover, Greenwood’s two-footedness and his direct style of play has everyone convinced he’s to eventually take a more central role as a number nine.
Jadon Sancho has proved his worth as a wide winger for both club and country. He’s contributed either a goal or an assist every 89 minutes for Dortmund, which roughly means he’s directly contributing to the numbers in every match he plays. He’s 20, with three years left on his contract, and wants to go to Manchester United. Reports confirm Sancho had already agreed on personal terms with United some time back. The Red Devils remain unchallenged this summer for Sancho – a rarity that will probably not repeat any other year.
As far as I am concerned, Manchester United should seal the transfer as soon as possible. I understand that they’re trying to make a statement to the rest of the clubs, that they’ll not always be bullied into paying whatever amount the other clubs randomly make up. But of all the players they could take that stance on, Sancho is not one of them. He plays the position they need to fill. His game already suits the tactics Solskjær fancies. His arrival would also provide respite to Greenwood, who could become a strong option to bring off the bench, something again United lacks right now.
Given the fact that the current transfer window will be open till October, there’s plenty of time left for this transfer to happen. Given the past antics of the two clubs, I’m inclined to think it will eventually happen. United have already secured Donny van de Beek. Sancho’s arrival will flood some much-needed legs and enthusiasm in the dressing room.