April 20, 2020
Manchester United target Jadon Sancho has reportedly agreed almost every deal of a transfer from Borussia Dortmund back to Manchester, albeit the red half not the blue half, according to reports in the media. Based on this, it has made me think about the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo and whether the 20-year-old’s arrival could have a similar effect to Ronaldo almost 17 years ago.
This season, despite it being interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic, Sancho has made 35 appearances for Dortmund, scoring 17 goals and assisting a further 19, playing 2,791 minutes of football in the Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League, the DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup. Ronaldo was two years younger when he moved to United and in his final season at Sporting, he played 31 times, scored five goals and five assists.
United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has been trying to sign a world class Ronaldo-esque player for some time now. Back in the summer of 2013, post-Sir Alex Ferguson, Woodward tried to lure a number of stars to Old Trafford, including Ronaldo himself, a rumour that came back during each transfer window that followed. United have brought in some big names, none of really brought anything like Ronaldo did in 2003.
Sancho could be the player that Woodward has been dreaming about signing, despite making many mistakes along the way, in the form of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and most recently, Alexis Sanchez. The 20-year-old is already a star in the making and after establishing himself in the Bundesliga, the Premier League beckons for him.
The 20-year-old England international predominantly plays on the right-wing for Dortmund but has played on the left-wing and as an attacking midfielder. United need a player on the right-wing, as no matter how many times it is tested, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Daniel James have not quite cut it there. United need something better, not that James is a failure, he’s done well stepping up from the Championship to the Premier League this season.
Statistically, Sancho offers 1.8 shots per game, 1.9 key passes, and 2.4 dribbles, which is good for a player of his age. Obviously, this may not be something he transfers immediately at Premier League level and may need the time to settle. Compared to what is already at the club, Sancho would be an improvement, especially on the right-wing, which has been a problem area for United for what feels like forever.
United could well be two or three players away from building a team that is capable of achieving something on the football patch. For seven consecutive seasons now, United have failed to launch a title challenge, finishing second during the 2017/18 season, some 19 points behind the reigning Premier League champions, Manchester City. The following season, United capitulated, finishing sixth resulting in Jose Mourinho being sacked in December 2018 and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replacing him.
With the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James, and Bruno Fernandes during the 2019/20 season, plus the temporary addition of Odion Ighalo, United seem to be building something. With Paul Pogba rumoured to be signing a new long-term contract at the Old Trafford club, Solskjaer could well be building something special, which may set the club back on track to achieving the impossible, at least for the past seven seasons.
If United manage to sign Sancho, which seems to be hotly tipped at this moment in time, plus an addition in defensive midfield and possible an out and out striker, perhaps United will be better suited to mounting a title charge against current Premier League leaders, Liverpool, who look set to confirm their status as champions as soon as football restarts. If Solskjaer cab do this, I am sure he will be backed by those who have an agenda against him.