Manchester United are once again on the trail of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho. The England international was Manchester United’s top transfer target last season, but they failed to get the deal over the line.
Fast forward to this season, and the situation hasn’t changed much for the Red Devils. The record Premier League winners still remain in pursuit of the English international, but there has been a drop in his price. Several reports have confirmed Manchester United’s interest, but unlike last time, the Red Devils are more likely to sign Sancho this season than not.
But after a season, there has been a change in the situation at Manchester United. The Red Devils have looked much better in front of goal. Their attacking output and number of goals in the season just gone is a clear example of their progress. With the team playing much better up front, the question arises over whether Manchester United need to prioritize the signing of the 21-year-old England international.
Do Manchester United Really Need to Prioritise Jadon Sancho?
Defensive Options Needed
During the last three seasons, Jadon Sancho has proven himself to be one of the best young talents in the football world. The England international has stacked up impressive stats and has made more than 100 league appearances for Borussia Dortmund. His impressive form has seen some of the big names linked with a move for the 21-year-old.
Last season was arguably Manchester United’s best since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. They have showcased some of the characteristics associated with their legendary teams. They have also made this possible by playing in a way that’s been pleasing to fans. The offensive output has been one of the standout statistics for Manchester United this season. In fact, the just-concluded season saw them score close to 120 goals in under 65 games – an average of almost two goals per game.
However, Manchester United have been comparatively poor on the defensive side. They had the worst defensive record amongst the Top four sides, conceding 44 goals in their 38 games. In fact, they conceded close to 70 goals during the entire season. It’s not just the numbers that are alarming. The Red Devils’ defence has looked vulnerable over the last couple of seasons.
The defensive partnership between Maguire and Lindelof has not been too bad but not too good either. The duo’s lack of pace has been something that opposition teams have exploited. The injury to Harry Maguire also showed a lack of dominant defenders within the ranks of Manchester United.
It has not been the center back department that Manchester United have had their fair share of troubles. The lack of a world-class defensive midfielder has been another area where they have struggled. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to use the pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred most of the time to cover up for the defensive frailties. The Red Devils’ lack of intent in finding a replacement for Nemanja Matic played a key role in their derailed title challenge.
In effect, Manchester United need to invest more in a center-back and a defensive midfielder rather than prioritising a right-winger.
Young Talents Could Act as Jadon Sancho Alternatives
The Red Devils need a right-winger, one of several positions where they have to find solutions. Manchester United tried to address the issue last season by trying to sign Jadon Sancho, but failed in their bid for the England international. But, they surprised the world on deadline day by buying two world-class talents, Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellestri.
Pellestri was the first to arrive on deadline day, moving from Penarol. Facundo Pellestri garnered worldwide attention after an impressive debut season with Penarol. His progress, though, has been slow. The 19-year-old played well for Manchester United’s reserves during the first half of the season before going out on loan to Deportivo Alaves.
Pellestri is a player with that South American flair. He possesses nifty footwork and has technical abilities far beyond his age. But the most eye-catching aspect of his game is his small center of gravity. The Uruguayan likes to keep the ball at his feet and has that acceleration that can take defences by surprise, a trait that has led to comparisons with Lionel Messi.
The loan spell at Celta Vigo has also helped him gain much-needed exposure to a European league. Patience is key for Manchester United when looking at the development of Pellestri. The 19-year-old has shown that he can take his game to another level but still needs to work on his physicality.
Amad Diallo Could Be the Key
While Pellestri is a season or two away from first-team status, Amad Diallo looks almost ready for the spotlight. The Ivorian was a surprise signing for Manchester United on deadline day.
The Ivory Coast international has been a star for the reserves and has arguably outshined most academy graduates. He has also shown glimpses of his potential whenever given the opportunity in the first team.
he has proven himself too good for the Manchester United reserves. He has lightning-quick pace and already looks good enough to get a run in the first team. The winger’s playing style saw his former Atlanta captain Papu Gomez compare him to his international teammate Lionel Messi.
Diallo also possesses that special something which differentiates a hot prospect from world-class talent. The Ivorian has all the potential to become the answer to Manchester United’s right-wing woes. But he will need a good run in the first team to accelerate his progress.
Mason Greenwood: An Ideal Option
Yes, the England international is not a conventional right-winger. He is suited to lead the line, but Mason Greenwood has proved himself to be a decent option on the right. Despite being a natural striker, the 19-year-old has blossomed on the right, scoring 12 goals and making six assists. The opportunity on the right helped the forward gain regular starts and, in effect, helped his development process.
Manchester United have always had the patience to develop players. A bit of patience could potentially yield two world-class wingers for the Red Devils and save them a huge sum in transfer fees.
Diallo and Pellestri are just a couple of years younger than Jadon Sancho. It was Dortmund’s decision to give Sancho a chance that accelerated his progress, and likewise, Manchester United could do the same with Pellestri and Diallo. Like Sancho, the two of them have high potential but haven’t had the playing experience compared to the England international.
For both these exceptional talents to develop, they need regular minutes. The arrival of Sancho could deter their growth as he will eat up a lot of their minutes.
Jadon Sancho Move Would Create Big Hole in the Transfer Budget
Manchester United are reportedly in pursuit of a central defender, central defensive midfielder, right-back and right-winger in this transfer window. Securing these four targets during any transfer window is tough and involves a lot of money. When it’s after pandemic hit season, the chances of securing all four go a bit more lower.
Keeping that in mind, the previous transfer window saw Manchester United going all out to secure the services of Jadon Sancho. But, a £120 million price tag saw them back off from a deal for the England international. Despite having agreed personal terms with the player, Manchester United could not agree upon a transfer fee with Borussia Dortmund.
The situation has changed slightly this season, with Dortmund reportedly ready to sell the player for around £90 million. The fee yet again is a huge sum and is still a record transfer fee for an English player. Manchester United have the funds necessary to go through with the deal, but that would have a huge impact on their targets.
They need a right-winger, but it should be a cost-effective one. A player like Raphina could save them huge sums. Or they could develop from within and save money. While Manchester United have more options on the right side, the center-back and defensive midfielder positions are very thin. They need good, cost-effective signings this season if they are to get all their transfer targets.
Manchester United Poor Record When Signing From the Bundesliga
The Premier League has always been a tough nut to crack for several players. Many big names have come and gone in the blink of an eye, while a few have etched their names in the league’s history. The physical demands and level of competition in the league has often had the better of several players.
On the contrary, the Bundesliga is a bit more relaxed. The last couple of seasons has seen the league transform into a breeding ground for young prospects. A quick look at the young stars in the league shows how well youth are promoted in the German league system.
Like the Premier League, the Bundesliga is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world. The volume of goals scored in a season has seen the league’s popularity increase over the last couple of seasons. But the league does not possess the physicality that is present in the Premier League.
The gulf in quality between Bayern Munich and the other teams has often resulted in the Bavarians dominating the domestic circuit. The level of completion between other teams is also a bit lower compared to England. At times, the Bundesliga has been criticized as an attackers’ paradise due to the lack of defensive quality in the league.
Four players have arrived at Manchester United from the Bundesliga, and all four of them have failed at Old Trafford. Owen Hargreaves was the first to arrive, and he struggled with injuries throughout his Manchester United career.
Shinji Kagawa and Bastian Schweinsteiger looked out of sorts in England and had to contend with a place on the bench. Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggled despite making an impressive start to his Premier League career. All four had relatively good starts but faded away towards the end of their debut seasons.
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