The announcement that Jadon Sancho is joining Manchester United brings to an end one of the most protracted transfer sagas of recent years. The Borussia Dortmund winger, currently on international duty with England, will return to England after the tournament after a £73m deal – plus add-ons – was reached between the clubs this week.
Over his four-year stay in Dortmund, Sancho grew from promising youngster into one of the most coveted forwards in European football. But how will he fit in at his new club?
Sancho has been signed to fill the vacant right-sided forward position, filled at various times last season by Mason Greenwood and Daniel James. With the former being a natural striker, and the latter rumoured to be leaving Old Trafford this summer, an upgrade had been required.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long wanted a natural winger, with pace, creativity and dribbling ability to scare opponents. The 21-year-old delivers on all of these fronts. In the Bundesliga last season, only Schalke’s Armine Harit dribbled past more opponents than Sancho’s 96. Sancho played more successful passes into opposition penalty boxes than anyone. He also drove into the final third more than anybody and – crucially – dribbled into rival penalty areas the most.
Fans of Manchester United, a club which prides itself on playing entertaining football, will also be excited to hear he topped the Bundesliga last season for nutmegs, with 16 opponents humiliated in this fashion.
The Londoner was always a talented dribbler at youth level, but his final product has also become top class at Dortmund. In three-seasons as a senior player, Sancho’s scored 50 goals, and laid on 64 for his teammates, helping the Bundesliga side to DFB-Pokal success in 2021. He’s more than a bag of tricks – this is a player that will hurt you if given an inch around the area.
Meanwhile, Sancho’s versatility will also be a huge boon at Old Trafford. In 137 appearances for die Schwarzgelben, Sancho played 70 games as a right-winger, 45 on the left and even a handful of games as a striker. This will give Solskjaer the opportunity to chop and change his front line, with Sancho given license to hug the touchline on one flank or cut in and shoot on the other. He can switch, mid-game, with Marcus Rashford if the pair feel like swapping.
Many Dortmund fans are pleased to see Sancho go, given the player’s obvious desire to return to England and the fee he’s generated. Yet there’s also a sadness that such an exciting talent is leaving. After all, Manchester have just taken a potentially world class player off their hands. What’s more, he’s exactly what his new club need.
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