The English Premier League welcomes arguably the biggest transfer of the window, Jadon Sancho to the infamous Manchester United on an estimated £73 million (R1.4 billion).
Many have failed when tested in the English top flight and now all eyes are on the 21-year-old as he is set to make his debut in the toughest and most gruelling league football has to offer.
Can Sancho live up to the hype surrounding his abilities? Will his output match his price tag? Most importantly, does Manchester United’s new number seven become an overall success?
A young boy from the south of London, Sancho worked his way through the ranks of Watford and Manchester City’s youth academies. After a surprising twist of events shortly after being in the running for Manchester City’s first team, Sancho and his agent worked out a deal which saw him move away to German Bundesliga side, Borussia Dortmund.
At Borussia Dortmund, he was able to make a name for himself outside of the comforts of his homeland in quite an extraordinary way. In just four seasons abroad, Jadon has made history in the Bundesliga with his age being a major factor. The young Englishman has scored 50 goals, assisting 64 times and all in just 138 appearances for the Black and Yellow first team, winning two trophies in the process.
At a national level, Jadon Sancho has been at the top of the pick over the past seven years. Sancho has been capped at age U-16, U-17 and U-19 before making his first team appearances. Most notably, Sancho won Player of the Tournament in the UEFA European U-17 Championships with England after helping the squad reach the final.
Amid all the success at club and national level, Jadon has been at the heart of some controversy as well as speculation of his ability to perform in the Premier League. Jadon Sancho parted ways with Manchester City in August 2017 after manager Pep Guardiola left the youngster out of the club’s pre-season tour of America amid a contract dispute which saw him fail to report for training. His request for guaranteed first-team game time in said contract was denied by Pep resulting in his departure. It is widely considered that Pep felt he was not ready and he needed more time before being a staple in the starting line-up.
Failure for big names in the Premier League is a reality, and particularly at Sancho’s soon to be new home Manchester United. Whether it be the pressure from fans, media, or self-inflicted, the eyes of the footballing world when being a Red Devil marquee signing is unrivalled. The world will be watching and the fans will be critical, and with names such as Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo once being in possession of his predicted number seven jersey, the pressure will continue to be poured on.
The most astonishing talking point surrounding Sancho’s success to this point is without question his age. His journey was not without struggle and criticism, and without a doubt will be leaps forward in his maturity both on and off the field. The move to his boyhood club’s direct rivals will be added motivation to achieve success for Manchester United let alone his own ambitions.
With the Reds’ third-place finish in 2019/20 and second-place finish in last season’s Premier League, it is the first time since the end of the Ferguson era that United have improved in two successive league seasons. This leaves United fans with a wink at possibly regaining the throne in the Premier League with a signing like that of Jadon Sancho.
Sancho’s success at Borussia Dortmund was quite evident by the numbers, as well as the statement put out by club CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, stating it was at Jadon’s explicit request for the transfer to take place and that the club wanted to keep him.
The success of this youngster will now lay in his own hands, with arguably the biggest club in the world at his back, and a steady progression surrounding his new home, coupled with already nurtured relationships amongst his fellow colleagues to be.
The talent, quality, and stature of the players around him are experienced and integral to the team’s success, and will not leave him as a focal point, but allows for an added element in the team’s style of play.
I believe Jadon will live up to the hype with many goal celebrations plastered over football media. He will live up to the price tag for those who question money in football. Most importantly, Jadon Sancho will now be perceived as the spearhead for Manchester United’s title charges to add to the success of his career.