In today’s market, £73 million for 21-year-old Jadon Sancho seems like a steal. The former Borussia Dortmund winger has lit up the Bundesliga for the last two years, garnering interest from multiple top teams across the world. Yet, it was Manchester United that came out on top, securing the English star after receiving the most shared interest from the player. Considering Sancho has spent his senior career in Germany, most Premier League fans may be forgiven for not being too aware of Sancho’s playing style and ability. So what does Sancho offer Manchester United? What can he bring? And what can fans realistically expect from him?
How Jadon Sancho Will Transform Manchester United
The Missing Link
More than just being an incredible winger, he perfectly fills missing links in Manchester United’s team. The Red Devils have been missing a natural right winger for a while. Over the last season, we have seen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer experiment with that side of the field. We have seen three players rotate in and out of the squad in the right-wing position, with Daniel James, Mason Greenwood and even Paul Pogba trying his hand in his unnatural position.
James has not yet set the world on fire after signing in 2019, being more of a fairly decent player to have ready as back-up on the bench. Greenwood, at a very young age, has been crucial in multiple games that he has played, popping up and scoring goals on multiple occasions. However, both his chance creation and his high-up play is not ideal for how Manchester United want to move forward, needing wingers who can carry, rather than performing merely up top. Finally, despite Pogba being a world-class talent, his position has never been on the right-wing, leaving him to understandably find comfort in cutting in too regularly and still working from the middle.
Sancho, meanwhile, is not as limited. Known for his skill and ability to carry the ball forward, he ticks every box of what Solskjaer and Manchester United fans should want from their wingers. Sharing a similar playstyle with Marcus Rashford on the opposite wing, this will largely increase production and chance creation. Despite many saying that Rashford’s season was underwhelming, he still produced 20 goal contributions while nursing a small injury, ranking him second for productivity after Bruno Fernandes. This is largely due to his ability to dribble past players well on the wing, to then have top talents Fernandes and Edinson Cavani to bounce off of. Sancho will give United double the wing-threat that has been missing under this revived team.
Realistic Expectations for Jadon Sancho
As with every new Manchester United entrant, be sure that online expectation and media scrutiny will be rife. As seen with Pogba and Fernandes at one time or another, if a star player is even slightly off-form and doesn’t completely change the club’s misfortunes on their own, their names will be plastered on every platform accusing them of shortcomings. The issue with over-expectation is the self-doubt it leaves in the player and their teammates’ mindset. Regardless of extravagant wage brackets or privileged lifestyles, focus and confidence are never unbreakable. There will be dips and downturns along the way, but be sure that Jadon Sancho’s contribution to the team will be key, whether that is attacking statistics or build-up importance.
Sancho will not drag Manchester United to their first Premier League title in eight years, nor should he. But what he will be is a very important cog to the ever-improving machine that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to produce; a team that can challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the League title; a team that has shown steady progression in recent times, and one that now has that extra push to get them over the line of success. Will he become United’s top goalscorer? Probably not. Will he become United’s top assister? Probably not. But, will he bring a more attacking threat that leaves the likes of Fernandes and Cavani more prolific? Probably, yes. No transfer ever equals guaranteed success. But it does show the rest of the league that United mean business. And considering the age of Solskjaer’s squad, it does make Manchester United a serious force to be reckoned with by the Premier League and European elites for some years to come.