Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward must be regretting his failure to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
What’s the word?
According to The Manchester Evening News, the England international is expected to reunite with Gareth Southgate’s squad this week as they get ready to face the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland during the international break.
Sancho was heavily tipped to move to Old Trafford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had identified the 20-year-old as his top priority in the transfer market. However, Bundesliga giants Dortmund refused to budge on their £108m valuation for the right winger, so Woodward signed Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo instead.
United embarked on a summer spending spree as they also brought in Donny van de Beek from Ajax and Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.
Despite this setback, it’s claimed that Solskjaer has not given up hope of signing the former Manchester City academy product.
However, United fear they will face stiff competition from the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid if they return for their long-term target next summer.
Missed the boat
Whilst Sancho hasn’t hit the same heights he enjoyed last term as of yet, he has still scored five goals and supplied two assists in twenty games in all competitions, whilst he is averaging 1.3 shots, 1.6 key passes and 2.4 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.
By comparison, Juan Mata has mustered fewer than one shot and one dribble per game so far, as per WhoScored.
Last month the Englishman scored in the 2-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League – he took one shot on target, 91 touches of the ball, made four key passes and created one big chance, via SofaScore, whilst he also made one tackle and one clearance, suggesting that he contributed defensively as well.
It’s perhaps hardly surprising he played 84 minutes, as his heatmap shows a hub of activity in the opposition half, which implies that he posed a real attacking threat all over the pitch, particularly on the right wing.
Once lauded as an “incredible” beast by Dortmund boss Lucien Favre, Sancho bagged 17 times and 16 assists in the Bundesliga last season, which is more than Mata and Daniel James managed if you combine their goal tallies together.
United missed a real opportunity to sign the a truly world-class star who is widely considered to be one of the best players in Europe, as their indecision in the transfer market could allow their fellow European heavyweights to offer some serious competition after a period of such economic uncertainty.
Standing at 5 ft 11 inches, Sancho isn’t exactly the tallest player on the pitch, but he more than makes up for his lack of height with his scintillating pace, as he is a strong dribbler who likes cutting in from the flanks. It’s safe to say that he would have been a significant upgrade on Solskjaer’s options out wide. Now United fans face an anxious wait.