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  • Writer's pictureMilton Ceita Da Costa

Jadon Sancho - Man United Has Competition

Jadon Sancho is leaving Borussia Dortmund. And his been for approximately 271 years. Jadon Sancho is going to Manchester United. That storyline has also had legs for a while. Whether true or not, and there are various articles and videos suggesting the former, the real question might be : should he? Should he leave Dortmund? Okay, maybe that’s not the most important question. Fair. So then, should he go to Manchester United?

Watching Sancho, he hasn’t been his same devastating self, and although at least part of that should be attributed to the horrific moment we are all living, it does appear his days at Signal Iduna Park are numbered.

Should he leave in 2021, what should his aims be? The best bet for his career and development looks like a place with strong leadership preferably in the dressing room and in the head manager, a team with technical ability on par with his, where he does not have to immediately bear the team’s creative and scoring weight. So, who might that be?

Today we answer that while taking a look at several other possible (and a few HIGHLY unlikely) options. Bare with us : the first few are pretty quickly dismissed.


😱 About As Improbable As It Gets 😱

1. Stay Home : Borussia Dortmund

Likelihood : 2/5

Team Fit : 5/5

Player Fit : 3/5

We'll get this one out of the way quickly. Short and sweet.

This is still technically a possibility. It would certainly be interesting. Dortmund would love to keep Sancho, if his motivation is what it needs to be. He could lead this team into the future with young stars such as Jude Bellingham, Haaland and Gio Reyna. Lucien Favre’s position is continually, fairly or otherwise, called into question, particularly in the city of Borussia, so that too could have an effect on what happens. We don’t actually see this as probable, we doubt anyone does, but maybe, just maybe…?


2. A Return to London : Chelsea

Likelihood : 1/5

Team Fit : 3/5

Player Fit : 3/5

Seems ridiculous? Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz have been added to Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi (Olivier Giroud is going to have to leave eventually. Right?).

Maybe it is ridiculous, but it is also Chelsea. They bought new toys as if they had just got off of a transfer ban…

This is one of the least desirable ones because of all the consequences. We want to see how/if Frank Lampard gets the best out of those forwards already there. Adding in Sancho would surely mean the departure of at least one of them. Sure, that could mean they end up going somewhere else interesting but still… Chelsea have more than enough attacking options. Sancho would likely not want to join either. Not out of fear for competition places (we prefer the term wariness and it would be fair) but for the simple matter of why? There are better options for him and for the club.

3. An Italian Adventure with the Old Lady : Juventus

Likelihood : 1/5

Team Fit : 2/5

Player Fit : 3/5

We don’t see this one happening either. It would require a significant amount of change and Juventus seem to be more interested in finding another world-class striker than a world-class winger (and they just acquired Federico Bernardeschi. Much of this depends on how this season goes and what Andrea Pirlo will want for the future. The Italian behemoths do tick the box of a mentally strong and demanding system, while also getting younger (Matthijs de Ligt, Weston McKennie, Dejan Kulusevski). Would Sancho’s ability be enough to demand a spot from the start? In theory, yes, but this doesn’t have much legs. We need to see more of this evolving Juventus before suggesting such an investment.

4. The Much-Walked Traitorous Route : Bayern Munich

Likelihood : 0/5

Team Fit : 2/5

Player Fit : 3/5

A Dortmund star trading yellow for Bavarian red? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. We’ll be quick.

Munich has Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Kinglsey Coman and the recently returned Douglas Costa, on the wings, Thomas Müller who can operate there and young players who could look to push through. Dortmund has been here before and their reluctance has often proven futile but this one seems less likely than some of the other transfers (Robert Lewandowski and Mario Götze). Bayern Munich does fit the bill for Jadon in almost every sense : strong dressing room, bags of quality, strong leadership (top to bottom) and he would not need to carry the team. He wouldn’t even have to change leagues. However, his spot, despite his undoubted quality, would not be guaranteed. Bayern does not currently seem inclined to cripple Dortmund and Dortmund knows that if they do have to sell, they have other suitors

5. Falling Into a Crisis : Barcelona

Likelihood : 1/5

Team Fit : 3/5

Player Fit : 2/5

This will be another quick one. Barcelona have money problems, institutional problems and an identity crisis. Lionel Messi may very well leave in the summer of 2021; we’ll likely know more in January. Barcelona though won’t get any transfer fee if he leaves for free in the summer. Ousmane Dembélé looks to be back in their good graces and Ansu Fati is the new love of the fans’ eyes. He has been tipped to move centrally into a striker role. That would clear up a sport for Sancho who would move ahead of young Pedri and Francisco Trincão. Antoine Griezmann… we’re not sure where he is going.

There is a fit for the team, but that is highly dependent on what happens with the Argentine overlord and Griezmann. Maybe if they were to sell the Frenchman they’d de able to afford Sancho and with Fati through the middle Dembélé on one side and San—

Let’s be real. This isn’t happening and really shouldn’t. Barcelona needs to figure out exactly what is going to happen with (hold on tight) :

Lionel Messi (future), Ansu Fati (tying him down and role), Antoine Griezmann (future and role) Ousmane Dembélé (future and role), Frenkie de Jong (position), Francisco Trincão (future), Riqui Puig (future and role), Philippe Coutinho (future and role).

Oh and Ronald Koeman, too.

6. The Galácticos Reborn (Again) : Real Madrid

Likelihood : 1/5

Team Fit : 2/5

Player Fit : 1/5

Historically, this is fitting. The home of the Galácticos...

However, Eden Hazard, when fit, has one spot nailed down and then you add in the Brazilian duo of Vinícius and Rodrygo. And the loaned out Reinier, another young Brazilian, and current teammate of Jadon Sancho. Marco Asensio is another option.

In Madrid, Sancho runs into similar issues as with Bayern Munich but if he were willing to play on the right side (as he has before) or through the middle behind the striker (same), he is more likely to start here than with the Bavarians.

Dressing room? It is as strong as it gets ; some would say too strong. The history, the competitiveness and the unrelenting demands accompanied by the support of a manager like Zinedine Zidane (if he stays) would all push Jadon Sancho to another level. There is no doubt in that. The young scintillating forward would surely relish the chance at playing for one of the biggest clubs in football history, one of the most recognizable symbols in any industry, even with the notoriously difficult-to-please fanbase. That too we accept. Also, we all know that if Madrid really want a player, they tend to get him, eventually, even if it means selling and/or under-appreciating an incumbent (Angel Di María, Mesut Özil, Claude Makélélé)

The only issue, and it is a HUMONGOUS issue : they want Kylian Mbappé. And perhaps Erling Haaland.

(It’s Madrid, what do we expect?)

(Also, we don’t blame them).

The Frenchman is number 1 on their list and the Norwegian is likely not much farther down the list. The pandemic hit Madrid hard like most of the rest of the world; they were startlingly quiet during the transfer window. It’s unlikely they could afford all three players. Maybe they would take Mbappé and Sancho instread of Mbappé and Haaland, but right now it doesn’t seem they have eyes for the former Manchester City graduate.

7. Lightning Strikes Twice : Atlético Madrid

Likelihood : 0/5

Team Fit : 3/5

Player Fit : 5/5

Surprising? Fair enough. We won’t stick too long here due to the overwhelmingly low likelihood of this transfer (Unabashedly our favorite scenario). We do not see Atlético pulling another João Félix (the first time lightning hit).

If they could though, it would be worth it. Luis Suárez, as predicted, has had a wonderful effect on João Félix, giving him a striker partner on his technical level, with a devastating ability to… devastate the opposition. Some of the unfair but completely expected pressure has been taken off of the young Portuguese international. The team, as Diego Simeone indicated, has been moving to a more open style. The change may not be as stark as some would like but throwing Jadon Sancho into the mix might be enough to complete it. The dressing room is strong, but the manager (and the coaching staff) is as strong as they come. The team might not have the technical ability from back to front of the French or German champions, but Atlético (our picks for LaLiga winners this season) are well drilled, intelligent, disciplined and ambitious. These are traits that would benefit Sancho, and he and Félix, and even an older Suárez, could form one of the most exciting and talented partnerships in the game. Also, Atlético does have a history of prolific and exciting forwards (Fernando Torres, Diego Forlán, Segio Agüero, Radamel Falcão...)

Too bad it won’t happen.

🤷🏿‍♂️ In The Realm of Possibility 🤷🏿‍♂️

8. He's Baaaak. The Nail in the Coffin Part I. : Manchester City

Likelihood : 2/5

Team Fit : 4/5

Player Fit : 4/5

The prodigal son ret— a bit too on the nose perhaps. Oh how, Manchester United fans would hate this. Jadon Sancho left Manchester City in 2017, unconvinced with their pathway for his development. It is fair to say that that courageous decision has worked out brilliantly. A return to Manchester City has similar pros and pitfalls to other financially powerful and dominant clubs like Bayern, Real Madrid and PSG. The strength of the coach, something we have harped on a great deal already, is profound, although there have been very, very minute suggestions of discontent.

Pep though would be expertly demanding of Sancho and the evolutions of Raheem Sterling, Agüero, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne indicate that Sancho could be on the same trajectory under his stewardship— if that relationship is salvageable. Sancho is a strong-willed young man, hence his departure and success. Pep is a relentless, obsessive mastermind, hence his success. If both agreed to the transfer however, further success would be assured.

The real concern is whether Pep Guardiola would stay past the end of this season. This will be his longest managerial tenure with any club and already two years ago questions had popped up as to his continued presence. Those questions are even more prominent now. Would Sancho’s potential return to City be connected in any way to Pep Guardiola’s decision?

That, of course, is not the only issue. Although Leroy Sané left for Germany, Manchester City still have Sterling, Riyad Mahrez (for now), Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Ferran Torres who would be direct rivals for a Sancho spot, and Gabriel Jesus, indirectly (Sergio Agüero is more than likely to leave at the end of the season).

Not to mention, the possible, incredible, have-to-see-it-to-believe-it transfer of Lionel Messi.

(Re-)acquiring Sancho would be a coup but snapping up Messi… The Argentine would have dibs on any spot and understandably so. As crazy as it may seem, we see that one happening more than this one.

9. The Nail in the Coffin Part II. : Liverpool

Likelihood : 2/5

Team Fit : 3/5

Player Fit : 4/5

For how United fans would react to this, see slide number 8.

Liverpool may or may not have the money to pull this off in the summer of 2021. In any case, centerback will be a priority although getting younger across the pitch should be one as well. It is not that the team is getting desperately old, but more so that the team’s stars are around the same age; a plus that could turn into a curse if mishandled. Virgil Van Dijk, Thiago, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum are 29 years old. Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah are 28 and Jordan Henderson is 30. They haven’t entered crisis mode yet and with the addition of Diogo Jota, they have a ready-made replacement for the eventual and inevitable transfer of at least one of the front three. Jadon Sancho could be another such player who would benefit from the discipline and competitiveness of this team and the coaching staff, while not being required to be the star just yet. His spot would be far from guaranteed but Salah and Mané are routinely linked with moves away, mainly to Real Madrid or Barcelona, and will have the African Cup Of Nations in early 2022 to contend with, which would provide more opportunities.

It’s unlikely that Liverpool will go this way. They are more likely to buy a player a step or two behold the star threshold, if not more, and then look to create a star (ie, their current star front three, Jota, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi), particularly in attack. That is why it would be better for Jadon than Liverpool although it would undoubtedly a steal by the current champions. Still, highly unlikely.

🙇🏻‍♀️ The Race Is On 🙇🏻‍♀️

10. They Can't Mess This Up... Can They? : Manchester United

Likelihood : 4/5

Team Fit : 5/5

Player Fit : 2/5

The “one.” The "big one." We’ve been hearing about this, as we mentioned, for quite some time now. Most of the angles have been covered, so here too we will get right down to it. United could really use a Jadon Sancho. They need a high-level centerback much more but Sancho would nail down the right side and can easily play across the attacking midfield line. Paul Pogba’s seemingly inevitable and decades-long exit has been brewing for ages and Sancho, although obviously not a “like-for-like” replacement, does bring in the star power Manchester United supporters cherish. A Pogba exit might even make this more palatable not just financially but also stylistically.

Going to the red half of Manchester, would see Sancho lineup with talented players such as Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and activist extraordinaire Marcus Rashford. The technical aspect is there. Financially, United would be better placed than a few of the other clubs on this list even without a Pogba exit.

So, right now

Finances : ✅

Team Need : ✅

Quality attacking teammates : ✅

Manager and Dressing room strength : …

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is still Manchester United manager. Despite calls for change, really since he began, the former United player is still in charge. Like with PSG, Allegri and especially Pochettino are looming. Those managers might be more attractive to Sancho. Only he knows that.

What we do know is that there is not the same established leadership here from top to bottom as in the other clubs. At Real, Sergio Ramos is the bonafide leader with a brilliant man manager who commands the respect of the entire dressing room and even the board, in Zinedine Zidane. They are not alone with Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Casemiro… in short, it is brimming with clout and firmness. At Atlético, Simeone rules but that team is in sync with similarly-minded determined and dogged players such as Saúl Ñíguez, Koke, Jan Oblak and now Luis Suárez. At Juventus even with rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, there is a defined structure with Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo as top dogs. Bayern Munich has Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski, and Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka have taken on a bigger role now, as well. PSG, even through their various managerial changes and the loss of stars over the years like Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimović, they have a dominant (some would say overly so) locker room, with Marquinhos, Neymar, Keylor Navas, Mbappé, Angel Di María and Marco Verratti. Man City has Pep and De Bruyne and Fernandinho along with Ederson, Sterling, Aymeric Laporte and the newest addition, Ruben Dias (who is highly rated in Portugal as a vocal leader).

Point : United does not match up to this. The argument that Sancho could become one of these leaders, that he could be the one to finally lift up United to its historical heights is more desperate than sound. He can be as great as we wish him to be but even the best need a team structure and an executive structure as a foundation. Look at Messi at Barcelona.

Keeping it simple, Sancho has better personal fits as options.

11. More Probable Than Expected : PSG

Likelihood : 3/5

Team Fit : 4/5

Player Fit : 4/5

This is a solution that hasn’t been explored as much as one would expect. Manchester United has loomed so large that we may have overlooked the best place for him to go. PSG fits the bill in every way. The quality is there, Champions League ambition that Dortmund hasn’t carried for a while, and a history of purchasing stars (do we need to name them?). The strength of the coach does however constantly come under question, no matter who’s in charge. Thomas Tuchel likely won’t last past the last game of the season, if that. Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are often cited as potential replacements for the German tactician.

Both would be great for the young Englishman’s development.

Neymar comes under more transfer scrutiny than the Liverpool duo and it is almost accepted knowledge that Kylian Mbappé will leave. Either could very well cover part if not all of the cost of Sancho (although such a windfall would consequently drive up Sancho’s price tag).

The team could use a player of his quality. Angel Di María (who we would still love to see get a significant run in central midfield) is likely to leave in the next year or two. The opportunity is there. The main concern may lie with PSG’s priorities. Like most everyone else, they were hit hard by the pandemic. They may focus simply on keeping Mbappé and Neymar as long as possible, but if either leaves, this may very well be on.

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