The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Jadon Sancho saga and why Borussia Dortmund can afford to let him go.
Jadon Sancho has become the crown jewel of Bundesliga’s conveyor belt of exciting talents, following a rapid rise to prominence at Borussia Dortmund.
Our very own, Udhav Arora, rated him as a “generational talent” who is on par with Kylian Mbappe in our first episode of The Hard Tackle podcast. And his comments are reflected on the transfer market as well, with Manchester United, in particular, desperate to get their hands on the prized attack.
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they have had a hard time convincing Borussia Dortmund to offload Sancho this summer, with the Bundesliga giants seemingly persistent on their mammoth €120 million asking price.
Instead of scouring through the options of how Manchester United can potentially sign him up, here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at Dortmund’s perspective, and why they could afford to sanction the sale of Sancho, this summer.
What Could Dortmund Lose?
In order to understand the whole reality of the situation, it is important to signify Sancho’s importance at Borussia Dortmund.
Under Lucien Favre, the English international usually plays as the right-sided winger. It serves BVB really well, especially on the counter, for two key reasons.
First and foremost, Sancho is one of the fastest players in the Bundesliga. He can carry the ball with a scintillating pace and is capable of providing the ideal final pass to set up his teammates. That is why he notched up as many as 17 assists in the Bundesliga last season.
Secondly, Sancho has improved his work-rate under Favre. It can be observed in recent months that is he is now more willing to track back in order to provide support to his defenders. Either way, he mainly sticks close to his wing-back during defensive phases whilst making sure that he remains a passing option in the event of a turnover.
It was reflected in former star wing-back Achraf Hakimi’s form last season as well as his overall statistics, with the Moroccan providing 15 passes that led to a goal. He also provided 66 passes that led to an attempt on goal.
This time, however, things could be entirely different, with Dortmund settling for a more well-rounded wing-back in Thomas Meunier. The Belgian is a good full-back, but his attacking output is nowhere close to that of Hakimi, which may force Sancho to go the extra mile in the offensive department.
That said, another key element in Sancho’s game is his productivity. He scored 17 goals last season, largely due to his ability to wriggle through spaces inside the box. He is also an excellent finisher, although he could appear selfish, at times.
Borussia Dortmund Have Enough Quality Depth
One thing that sticks out the most from Borussia Dortmund’s team this season is that they potentially have a stronger attacking unit than Bayern Munich.
Erling Haaland has already made waves in the Bundesliga, following his January arrival of Red Bull Salzburg. But, it’s the creative unit that has incredible depth.
First off, the creative trifecta of Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Raphael Guerreiro have established themselves as key elements in the Dortmund setup. They were involved in over ten Bundesliga goals last season, with Hazard, in particular, scoring seven goals and providing 13 assists.
Their collective brilliance shadowed the absence of Marco Reus due to injury. But even the German international is now back to full fitness, notably scoring against MSV Duisburg, just a minute after making his return to the pitch.
I had the fortune of talking to Borussia Dortmund legend and Champions League winner, Karl-Heinz Riedle just a little over a month ago, and he remarked the importance of having Reus back and why he must be drafted straight back into the starting lineup as he is, without a doubt, one of the best attackers in Europe.
However, even that seems like an unlikely proposition purely due to the recent emergence of a certain Giovanni Reyna.
Son of former USMNT legend, Claudio, Giovanni is a part of the talented pool of up and coming American talents in the Bundesliga, with the 17-year-old notably becoming the league’s 11th youngest goalscorer by scoring against Borussia Monchengladbach on the opening day of the season.
Reyna has already become a key member of the Dortmund first-team. His excellent balance and an ability to drift past defenders makes him a like for like replacement for someone like Sancho, although the American whizkid doesn’t have the same pace. But, at the age of 17, the bar is already set high for the attacker.
A Financial Perspective
From Borussia Dortmund’s perspective, what makes Sancho’s sale such an appealing prospect is the fact that they could have the chance to net around €100 million. It is a fairly huge amount in a year that has seen the club lose around €43 million over the past season. Such losses have crippled Dortmund’s financial power, resulting in inactivity in the transfer window.
As mentioned earlier, the Black and Yellows have great depth in the attacking department, especially with Reus returning to full fitness. So one could argue that the club could use the Sancho money to resolve more pressing issues in the current setup.
Lucien Favre especially needs a centre-back as Emre Can has looked rusty during the early parts of the campaign while Lukasz Piszczek is playing his last season, with questions being raised over his lack of pace. Even Mats Hummels is failing to keep up to the pace of the Bundesliga, thus accentuating the need for a quality centre-back.
Moreover, Dortmund also require a proper wing-back, following the disappointing performances of Nico Schulz. Raphael Guerreiro is extremely injury prone while Marcel Schmelzer, Felix Passlack and even Thorgan Hazard cannot be trusted as reliable options.
The potential sale of Sancho, in that regard, should allow them to fund moves for aforementioned targets, which could, no doubt, strengthen the Dortmund side even more and arguably provide a better balance to the squad as the club looks to take on Bayern Munich for the league title this season.