Football Features

How Jadon Sancho can help Man Utd close the gap on Liverpool and Man City

By CJ Smith

Sancho to Man Utd?

Published: 15:25, 22 March 2019

Manchester United are ‘confident’ of signing exciting England winger Jadon Sancho for in excess of £80m, according to reports.

The 18-year-old has shot to prominence this season, scoring eight goals and providing 12 assists in just 26 Bundesliga games so far for Borussia Dortmund, as well as another one of each in the Champions League.

And despite Dortmund battling hard at the top of the German top flight, the harsh reality is that they often lose their star talents after a short spell of success; Christian Pulisic has already completed a move to Chelsea and will spend the rest of the season on loan in Germany. Could Sancho be next?

The winger himself has named Man Utd and fellow England star Marcus Rashford, alongside Kylian Mbappe, as one of his main footballing inspirations recently, and so maybe he could indeed be lured to Old Trafford. Rumours of Sancho’s recent Twitter activity suggests there’s a chance.

Alexis Sanchez has turned out to be a complete flop. Anthony Martial has been inconsistent since the day he walked through the door at Carrington. Man Utd could, therefore, use the injection of excitement Sancho would bring to their wings. That flair and unpredictability that can make your team impossible to plan for, with or without Ole at the wheel.

“He knows how to twist and turn now and he doesn’t really do crazy skills, he does really unorthodox shoulder drops, and with that you think you know where he’s going and then he’ll just do a little double touch and he just kills you.”

Watford coach Dave Godley, on Sancho

No player has completed more dribbles in the Bundesliga than Sancho’s 83, while the raw drive and trickery he has brought to the England squad during his handful of senior caps so far has been wonderfully refreshing to watch. That’s all without mentioning that ever-growing highlights reel.

Compare that to the situation at Man Utd, where you have to go all the way down to 13th in the Premier League to find their top dribbler, central-midfielder Paul Pogba on 46, and a whole lot further to even find a winger posting full-back-testing numbers. It then becomes obvious just how dire their need is out wide.

Ultimately, the Red Devils want to match the ambition and excitement currently demonstrated by their biggest rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City, who both have two players each in the top 11 Premier League dribblers, and although Solskjaer has helped United take big strides toward that, investment is needed.

Whether Borussia Dortmund go on to win the Bundesliga or not this season, Sancho’s interest will undoubtedly be piqued at the prospect of a return to his homeland and a chance to prove a point to his compatriots, and what better place to do that than at the rivals of the club that allowed him to leave these shores in the first place, Man City?

There had been whispers that the Citizens had inserted a clause into the deal that took him to Dortmund stating the Germans couldn’t sell him to Man Utd – as happened when Brahim Diaz moved to Real Madrid – but those are found to have been inaccurate, according to the Evening Standard.

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Solskjaer has recently spoken about advising Man Utd on their future transfers regardless of whether he gets a long-term contract or not, highlighting players with the right ‘identity’ for the club as most important.

“I am always in the position to tell United who they should look at, and that will continue after the summer if I’m not still here,” the Norwegian said.

“I will always advise the club, especially if they ask me.

“It comes down to playing style, how we want to look in one or two years’ time, what kind of players we want and what kind of personalities we look for.

“It’s about finding players with the right Manchester United identity and DNA.”

Within that ‘Man Utd DNA’ is a long, rich history of developing youngsters, smattered with a dash of statement signings.

Sancho is one of, if not the in-demand teenager in world football right now. On the face of it, this is a match made in heaven.