Manchester United are increasingly confident that they can seal a money-spinning summer transfer for Borussia Dortmund superstar Jadon Sancho.
The remarkably prolific 20-year-old wideman had been in scintillating form for the German giants this season, notching 14 goals and 15 assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances before the campaign was cut short by the escalating health crisis.
Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona along with Premier League clubs Liverpool and Chelsea were all thought to be vying for Sancho’s signature, though numerous reports are suggesting that United are making concrete steps towards concluding a deal for the winger with world-class potential.
Sancho of course, has played in Manchester before – the England international spent two years with the Man City academy from 2015 before the ambitious youngster pushed for an exit in 2017, citing a lack of first-team opportunities at the Etihad Stadium as his reason for leaving.
Since swapping the Citizens for Borussia Dortmund, Sancho has developed into one of the most exciting young players in world football and has already amassed 11 senior caps for Gareth Southgate’s fast improving Three Lions team.
England teammate Marcus Rashford certainly seems enthused about the prospect of lining up alongside Sancho at club level. In an Instagram Q&A, the United attacker said: “It obviously would be good, Sancho’s a great player, a new generation player.
“It’s definitely exciting to watch the player he’s becoming. Hopefully we can all play together, that would be good.”
With a £100m plus deal inching towards completion, excitement among United fans on social media is starting to peak – but where would Sancho fit in to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side?
Sancho’s right-wing rivals at United
The gaping hole that’s been left unfilled down United’s right-flank for half a decade has been a continued source of frustration for the club’s supporters.
An argument could be made to suggest that Antonio Valencia was the actually the last right-sided specialist to be drafted in at Old Trafford, and depressingly, the rapid Ecuadorian was signed all the way back in 2009.
Fast-forward to 2020, and competition for Sancho at United for that right-sided berth looks incredibly thin on the ground, and it’s easy to see why Solskjaer is so desperate to land his man.
Whilst shoe-horning the snail-paced Mata in on the right touchline of any team would be an exercise in futility, that’s exactly what successive Man Utd managers have done since the Spaniard arrived at Old Trafford in 2014.
Despite a few flashes of quality and moments on inspiration, Mata has never been able to replicate the form he showed at Valencia and Chelsea with United, and in the last three Premier League seasons, the “creative” midfielder managed just six goals and nine assists in total.
Welsh international Daniel James has made a largely positive impact at Manchester United in his first year with the club, hitting four goals and six assists in all competitions during his debut campaign at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old’s searing pace is a potent weapon, though James’ lack of top-level experience is often telling, and games can often pass the former Swansea man by.
James’ versatility should make him a more than useful squad option for United as he develops, but in terms of raw ability and match-defining talent, the winger falls well short of Jadon Sancho.
Teenaged wonderkid Mason Greenwood has enjoyed a stellar break-out season for United in 2019/20, battering home a superb 12 first team goals in just a smattering of starts for the club.
The precociously talented 18-year-old has been deployed from the right-hand side in the majority of his appearances for Solskjaer’s side, though Greenwood’s long-term future will undoubtedly be as a centre-forward.
Equally adept with both feet, Greenwood is one of the deadliest finishers to come through the United academy ranks in a generation, and the Bradford-born striker seems destined for a lengthy career as a first team regular at Old Trafford.
If Sancho completes his move to United this summer, he will likely form a potentially devastating attacking trident alongside Greenwood and Marcus Rashford over the next five to ten years in Manchester.
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