You’ll struggle to find a football fan outside of Gelsenkirchen who does not enjoy watching Jadon Sancho play the game.
The forward has gone from strength-to-strength during his time at Borussia Dortmund with eye-watering statistics to prove it. Seventeen goals and 19 assists in 35 games across all competitions is frankly ridiculous.
It’s obviously led to the transfer speculation. Europe’s elite are circling the Signal Iduna Park as they look to be the one to lure Sancho away from his current surroundings.
Do Manchester United win the race? What about Chelsea? Maybe Liverpool look to add to their influential front three or even Manchester City try to bring him back to the club?
As is the case with any transfer, particularly those in the elite category that Sancho finds himself in, money will be the deciding factor. The likelihood is that any club will have to fork out a nine-figure sum to get a bid accepted. Would that happen at this moment in time? Probably not.
The one argument that continues to be overlooked in the whole Sancho saga seems the most obvious one to me. Stay at Borussia Dortmund.
Maybe it’s the trap we fall into as Premier League fans that we believe that we can poach any player we like from other top domestic leagues but the fact is that the Bundesliga is overtaking our top-flight in terms of quality.
RB Leipzig’s Champions League victory over Tottenham is one example. As is Bayern Munich’s 7-2 demolition of Spurs in the group stages and the current commanding 3-0 lead they hold over Chelsea.
The Premier League has had its day in recent seasons, of course, with Liverpool’s success in the Champions League but the current campaign hasn’t exactly shone through with huge amounts of quality on display on a regular basis.
The Bundesliga is re-emerging as a powerhouse on the global stage with a brand of football that is perfectly suited to Sancho’s main attributes. There’s also the fact that Dortmund are in a battle for the title. Is it worth giving that up to return to England and play for a team who are battling to finish in the European spots?
It’ll come down to the highest bidder but if Sancho does have a say, he should stay put and enjoy being part of this young and exciting Dortmund side.
It has previously been reported that Man City have first refusal on Sancho if they are willing to match the highest bidder, so you would think they are in the driving seat to re-sign him. IF they fancy forking out such a fee.
If they don’t, then it has also been claimed that they have a 15 per cent sell-on clause, so happy days. But with such figures touted, Sancho’s return to England could be put on hold with the inevitable financial impact the coronavirus crisis will have on world football.
But what’s the rush?
His development in Germany has been impressive, going from a 17-year-old thrown into the senior squad in a foreign country to a key first team player. He is still only 20, leaving his teens behind just last month.
We have seen it happen often enough – these young, promising stars getting big moves and seeing their progress go from rapid to stuttered. Just look at Ryan Sessegnon, for example. Not quite on the same scale, but a switch like this does not always guarantee their progress and upward trajectory continues.
Sancho is ambitious, there is no doubt about that. Just see the fact he walked out on his deal with Man City, where he was still highly regarded and expected to work his way to the first team, to take the risk at Dortmund.
But maybe he should hang on for at least another year. Dortmund have an exciting young side and are on the up, whereas some of the clubs he is being linked with are arguably huge but have their issues.
Whereas BVB have the thrill of young Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard and Gio Reyna under Lucien Favre. If they do keep him they could do with extending his deal as it currently expires in two years’ time. Fine now, but it would put them in a more difficult position next year when holding out for big sums for a player with just 12 months left on his contract.
And in his early days in the England set-up, he does not need too much upheaval.
He still has things to win in Germany and it feels like he is not finished just yet. Just hang on, get another full season under your belt at Dortmund and continue to pick up the plaudits. Then, I am sure, he will have a number of Europe’s top clubs to choose from.
I recently took a look at Sancho’s stats and career path and it’s clear that he’s right out of the top draw – only Kylian Mbappe has scored more goals as a teenager and Sancho’s numbers for a teen are some way clear of both Messi and Ronaldo.
If you couple his production at Borussia Dortmund with the inner belief and confidence the young man has then he should really be destined for greatness, it’s only he himself who can get in his way right now, and that includes making the wrong decision on his future.
Any player, though, who shows the refreshing desire to play football, strong enough to walk away from Man City’s billions and ply his trade in the Bundesliga is obviously all about football, and playing at the top level and proving himself.
We live in uncertain times right now, and who knows what state football’s finances will be in once we come through all of this, but when we do, Sancho will be top of the list of big names due to move this summer. Dortmund have already said they won’t stand in his way, but crucially they want full market value – and that’ll be in excess of £100m.
Is he worth it? Especially right now you have to say no footballer is worth such gaudy amounts of money, but if we have to get back to footballing reality then a team would most likely pay that amount given he could be their star man, one of the world’s best, for the next decade.
His landing spots are limited given the price tag, but he’s odds-on to move to Old Trafford and if I were Manchester United I’d take the plunge and do what it takes to bring him in – unleashing him in a front three along with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, with Bruno Fernandes in behind, elevates the club to lofty levels in terms of attacking talent.
Mind you, Barcelona are looking to offload Philippe Coutinho and Rashford has been identified as a possible target for the Spanish giants, and that’s a much bigger move right now than joining United, who may not even be in the Champions League at this point.
Man City won’t want to admit they’re wrong by taking him back, and it’d be a brave move by Liverpool to risk angering one of their famed front three (although I do think they’ll bring in Timo Werner but at a much lower price) so that leaves Chelsea as the only other side in the frame.
Sancho strikes me as the adventurous type who’d relish proving himself with LaLiga giants Barcelona, and if they come in they’d be hard to turn down, but from where we are now Old Trafford looks his most likely destination.
Wherever he ends up though, I expect him to keep on improving and become one of the world’s best.