In a football landscape where every young, exciting, English talent is overhyped and overrated by the English media, Jadon Sancho stands alone as an outlier. Sancho made the bold decision to leave Manchester City’s academy at 17 and move to Germany to sign for Borussia Dortmund. Since then he has become the hottest prospect in the world bar Kylian Mbappe and has every big English club lining up for his signature. Sancho, who is now in his 3rd season with Dortmund, has 7 goals and 13 assists in 19 appearances so far this season. Still only 19, most in England thought, eventually, Sancho would come back to where he started his footballing career. However, that timeline seems to have been moved up quite a bit. Sancho was hauled off after just 36 minutes in Dortmund’s 4-0 loss to rivals Bayern Munich just a couple of weeks ago and his discontent with his situation seems to be building. The 19-year-old then came back a week later and was the driving force behind Dortmund’s comeback from 3-0 down against bottom of the league Paderborn.
Today, a report came out signalling that Sancho wants to leave the club in January. The market for Sancho will not be small, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have been deemed to be the favourites for his signature, but Real Madrid and Barcelona are also interested (because of course, they are). We are going to look at what team would be the best fit for Sancho and how he will fit into his suitors’ plans.
I am going to focus on the 3 English clubs that are after Sancho because, firstly, he is English and secondly Barcelona doesn’t need another winger and Real Madrid will be focused on signing Kylian Mbappe next summer. Sancho also has many friends within each English club that is after to him as he grew up playing with them in the England national team setup. The young Three Lion usually tends to operate from right wing, but has played on the left for Dortmund as well. He excels the most when he has the ball at his feet and can run at defenders. Sancho’s playmaking and creating abilities are unrivaled by players his age. He can be likened to a player such as Eden Hazard, both love to take players on and are pass first wingers. Sancho had 12 goals and 14 assists last season for Dortmund in the league while playing just 2500 minutes.
Sancho’s ability to carry the ball and find the open man in a good position to score sets him apart from other players his age. His decision making, for the most part, is incredibly mature for a player his age. He can get got up trying to do too much at times, but when dealing with a player of his ability, you have to allow him to realize when is the right time to take someone on and when to just slow the game down. Another asset of Sancho’s is that his dribbling always seems to have an overall purpose and an end product. He is so good at winning penalties and fouls because he tempts defenders to reach in and then quickly pulls away.
Look at how easily he makes something out of nothing purely based on his dribbling ability.
Now that we’ve talked about how good Sancho is, let’s look at how he fits in the teams that want him, firstly, Liverpool. Liverpool’s interest in Sancho has been obvious from the get-go, Manager Jurgen Klopp even confirmed he wanted to sign Sancho while he was still at Manchester City. Of course, Klopp used to manage Dortmund and has the connections that brings. Tactically, a player like Sancho doesn’t seem like an obvious fit in a Liverpool side that already has two world-class wingers in Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, but a player of Sancho’s ability would be the type of player to change Klopp’s formula. Liverpool lined up in a 4-2-3-1 10 times in the league last season and have a midfield that probably suits a double pivot anyways. A midfield 2 of Gini Wijnaldum/Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson/Fabinho with Sancho on the right, Roberto Firmino through the middle, Mane on the left and Salah up top does make sense. Sancho also gives Liverpool options that they do not have at the moment. He allows them to have another creative outlet that isn’t Firmino and takes the pressure off of fullbacks Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Roberston who are expected to carry the burden of progressing the ball from deep for Liverpool. Liverpool’s attacking play has left fans wanting more as of late and it usually ends up being the brilliance of one of their fullbacks that creates chances. Sancho combined with Trent on the right side would be a pairing that not many teams in the world can match and the number of assists that would come from that side would be staggering. Sancho could also be another player that Klopp can take to another level as he has repeatedly done during his time at Liverpool. The self-belief he invokes in players has helped many including Mane, Joel Matip, Salah and Wijnaldum reach levels that they wouldn’t have reached otherwise. At just 19, Sancho is the perfect age to be moulded into a global superstar by Klopp.
The big question surrounding Liverpool and Sancho will be the cost, can Liverpool afford the 100 million pound plus pricetag Dortmund are asking for? The simple answer is, who the heck knows, Liverpool hasn’t usually been ones to break the bank, but for players like Sancho, they make exceptions. Liverpool did, of course, break the transfer record for a goalkeeper when they signed Alisson for nearly 70 million pounds back in 2018 and when Klopp wants someone, he will do anything to get them. Liverpool also spent nearly nothing on players in the summer of 2019 and it was suspected that they were gearing up for a player like Mbappe or Sancho knowing the price it would take to get them.
I genuinely cannot think of a single big-name player that Manchester United haven’t been linked with in the past decade, I mean people really thought that Ronaldo was coming back before he went to Juventus. United are an absolute mess right now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have appeal and that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have incredulous amounts of money. Sancho could be the perfect player to reboot the Red Devils revival. The last good right-winger Manchester United had was Ryan Giggs, RYAN GIGGS. From Juan Mata to Jesse Lingard to Henrik Mkhitaryan to now Daniel James, the right side of United’s attack has not been their strong suit for quite some time now. Tactically, it is hard to really say how Sancho fits because honestly, under Ole Gunner Solskjær, I don’t think anyone knows what United’s tactics/identity is including Solskjær himself. It is becoming harder and harder to see Ole staying on as Man U manager beyond this season and if his replacement is Mauricio Pochettino, Sancho would be the perfect player to build the team around. A 4-3-3 with Sancho on the right, Marcus Rashford on the left and with someone such as RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner (13 goals in 13 games in the Bundesliga this year) is a terrifying thought for Premier League defences. United have many holes, but Sancho could help to solve a lot of them. Sancho could also help to improve United’s 50 Million pound right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka improve offensively as that is something that is lacking in his game. Contribution going forward from out wide and specifically a team’s wingbacks is becoming increasingly important in modern football and the Red Devils don’t have that element to their squad yet. The cost would, of course, be no issue to United as money seems to grow on trees for them. The seemingly inevitable transfer of Paul Pogba would also help fund any transfer involving Sancho. Personally, I would be surprised if United snapped up Sancho, but you can never rule them out,
Chelsea’s new youth movement inspired by manager Frank Lampard has made their link to Sancho inevitable. After a summer with a transfer ban that prohibited them from signing anyone, Chelsea is expected to flex their financial muscle once again in 2020. The Blues young core has impressed so far this year and have made the sting of the transfer ban a lot less painful. Fikyao Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson Odoi are leading the London sides new wave of talented youngsters and are proving that Chelsea’s academy is the best in the country. Add Christian Pulisic and 23-year-old Ruben Loftus Cheek to the mix and you have the core of your side for the next half-decade at least. Sancho seems like a perfect fit for the way Lampard likes to play, free-flowing and exuberant. Chelsea has become one of the most fun sides to watch in all of Europe this season. Sancho also loves to drift into the middle which is perfect for Lampard’s side as he likes his fullbacks to overlap and provide width for the team.
As this wonderful video on how Chelsea play indicates, Chelsea have rotated between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 this season. The Blues are quite deep at the wing position already, but older players such as Willian and Pedro are on their way out which will leave them will just Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic, so there is room for Sancho.
Chelsea has other needs that they should probably prioritize before Sancho, such as a left-back and another number 9 to challenge Abraham. But when a player of Sancho’s quality becomes available and you include his age and nationality, Chelsea are always going to be interested. They will have no problems affording the fee and any wage demands Sancho feels he needs. The only question will be how badly does Chelsea want him? They will have to compete with multiple other teams for him and if they sign him that may hamper their ability to fill other holes in their squad. Sancho is reportedly a boyhood fan of Chelsea so the appeal is there for the player. It will all come down to how well Pulisic and Odoi progress and if Lampard feels Sancho is worth the price tag.
The last team that I could see making a big run for Sancho is French giants PSG. The French side looks like they will be losing at the very least 1 of Neymar and Mbappe and all signs point to both of them not staying in Paris past next summer. Sancho could be the perfect player to replace them with. PSG loves to spend money and is in a bit of transition period as their players get older and move on. The young Englishman could be the start of a new period for PSG and could be the player to lead them to Champions League glory. This is probably the least likely scenario as not many young talents move to Ligue 1, let alone young English talents. Ligue 1 is usually the springboard for young players to get their big move, but when PSG comes calling it is hard to ignore. It doesn’t seem as if the manager Thomas Tuchel will be at PSG for much longer, but if he does stay and Sancho comes they both have links to Dortmund so that could be something to build a relationship on.
Now again I am a Liverpool fan and I would love nothing more for Sancho to come to the club, but that is not why I am putting Liverpool as the best option for him. The move to Liverpool, at the moment, makes the most sense. Liverpool has the money, the right manager, the tactical profile that fits, they are one of the best teams in Europe and they are looking for a global superstar to start their new era with Nike as kit provider. A right side of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexander-Arnold and Sancho would be delightful to watch and makes a lot of sense for Liverpool. The next best fit for him would be Chelsea in my opinion, he would be a perfect fit for Lampard’s side. He was born in London and grew up a Blues fan. Chelsea is also going to want to make a huge signing to signify their return to Europe’s elite and Sancho fits that profile. Then we have United and PSG, in that order. United just aren’t what they used to be and unless Sancho’s main motavation is money, it will be hard to see him reject certain success with either Chelsea or Liverpool for a revival project in Manchester. PSG are in a difficult spot only due to where they play. Ligue 1 isn’t a draw for English players, especially ones that have something still to prove in England. I have no idea where Sancho is going to end up next summer or maybe even this upcoming winter, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be Dortmund.