Jadon Sancho to Manchester United has been one of the longest running transfer sagas in recent times. Last summer, they believed that they could drive a hard bargain, but Borussia Dortmund weren’t going to be easy sellers. This has led to a 12 month delay, but it seemed inevitable that the England international would eventually end up at Old Trafford. BBC Sport report that a deal has now been agreed between the two clubs for a fee believed to be in the region of £73 million.
This will give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an embarrassment of riches in attack, with Sancho joining Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani in the forward areas. The task will be finding the best combination of players, but the Norwegian will be hoping that increased competition leads to every player raising their performances.
Since moving to Borussia Dortmund, Sancho has emerged as one of the most dangerous players in the Bundesliga. He has contributed 38 goals and 45 assists during his time in Germany. These are incredible numbers, as he averages a goal involvement every 90.5 minutes. It is a major coup for Manchester United to sign one of the most exciting attacking talents in world football. His quality is underplayed in this country, as he has built his experience overseas. He has the potential to become one of the most important players at Old Trafford for the next decade.
There are few better in the final third across Europe. Sancho averages 5.33 shot creating actions (96th percentile), 6.54 progressive passes and 10.62 progressive carries (both 97th percentile) per ninety minutes. This underlines the threat he poses and fbref’s comparison tool rates Lionel Messi as the most stylistically similar player in their database.
He averages 2.13 shots per ninety minutes, ranking just higher than the average attacker. This shows that Sancho’s natural instincts are to create chances for others, rather than being a high volume shooter himself. This should mesh well with the rest of the Manchester United attack, as Rashford, Cavani and Fernandes all have an eye for goal. Although Sancho doesn’t take a lot of shots, his average of 0.26 non-penalty expected goals per ninety minutes shows he does carry a direct threat.
The expectation will be that Sancho has been signed to play on the right wing. No player made that position their own last season, with Greenwood, Rashford and Dan James all playing there at times. Last season, Sancho scored six and assisted five when being used as a right-winger. The main worry will be the lack of dynamism from Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Manchester United has been improving his attacking output, but it is a weakness in his game. Sancho has played his best football when linking up with an attacking full-back, like Achraf Hakimi.
It is likely that he has been signed to play right-wing, but he is versatile. For Dortmund, he has been used on both flanks and as a number ten. Manchester United will likely try to be fluid in forward areas, as they have players that can play anywhere across the front line. They should be exciting to watch next season.
Supporters will be excited to sign Sancho, as he could easily emerge as one of the best players in the Premier League in the next couple of years. However, they will need further reinforcements to challenge for the title. A centre back and a holding midfielder will be next on the agenda. If they manage to sign both, they will be in a strong position to get much closer to Manchester City. To do it with a former City academy player leading their attack will make it even sweeter.