If you had said to Manchester United supporters their club could sign Jadon Sancho for around £75million a year ago, they would have snapped your hand off — or simply not believed you.
So why then, is there such apathy towards the idea of signing Sancho this summer from so many United fans?
It is not as if Sancho’s stock around Europe has fallen dramatically — even if he hasn’t quite hit the heights of his second season in Germany.
Now 21, he’s managed 12 goals and 12 assists in all competitions for Dortmund, amid one or two injury problems and a difficult campaign for the Black and Yellows in general. He’s been through a change in his club manager and at the start of the season looked visibly affected by the long transfer saga involving United that ran and ran last summer.
But, make no mistake, this is still one of Europe’s most exciting talents we are talking about here. It’s hard to believe Sancho only celebrated his 21st birthday at the end of March this year, given the reputation he’s built with club and country since swapping Manchester City’s reserves for Dortmund’s first team in August 2017.
Sancho’s overall record is nothing short of stunning, considering the gamble he was taking by swapping East Manchester for North Rhine-Westphalia. He’s been a trailblazer for other English youngsters to move to the Bundesliga to find playing time, and success.
United were absolutely right to identify him as a special talent, with an obvious desire to return to the Premier League, last summer — making him an ideal transfer target.
Dortmund’s reluctance to even enter into negotiations with United, amid a strict price tag in excess of £100million, meant the sage eventually ran out of steam in 2020. United’s own financial situation, given the covid-19 pandemic, meant they were never going to write a cheque of that size.
But the MEN understands Sancho remains on United’s radar and the latest suggestions from Germany are that the right-winger’s valuation has come down a touch, to the region of €85-90million.
Perhaps fans have become distracted by the current anti-Glazer movement that is rightly taking up much of the attention right now, or perhaps they are more fixated on Sancho’s Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland as a would-be transfer target.
Haaland is the new sexy name from the Bundesliga club and in fairness he has overshadowed Sancho in the past season, notching goals at an astonishing rate of one per game, prompting links with all of Europe’s major super-powers.
Liverpool, Man City, Real Madrid, Barcelona — they all want Haaland. United admire him too, but their chances of clinching a deal in 2021, when the striker’s price tag will be closer to the £150million mark, are very slim. He is a fantasy signing, rather than a reality.
Sancho, at half that price, and a similar age and profile, has now turned into the smarter and more realistic transfer choice for United.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side can persuade Edinson Cavani to stay on an extra year as their main centre-forward, with Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood for back-up, an elite right-sided attacking signing makes a world of sense.
To have Sancho and Greenwood competing on the right would give Solskjaer the weapons to mount a true Premier League title bid.
And if it costs £75million then, well, that isn’t extortionate by modern football standards. Sancho’s contract expires in June 2023 and the suggestion that he wants to return to English football is a sensible one.
It has been well documented that Sancho’s talent and mentality would fit Solskjaer’s United philosophy like a hand in glove.
It’s high-time United made it happen.