Jadon Sancho: The Sequel

Jadon Sancho: The Sequel

He was once one of English football’s brightest talents. Now he’s back where it all took off.

Jadon Sancho rejoined Borussia Dortmund last week, returning from Manchester United on a short-term loan deal.

He returns to Signal Iduna Park after two and a half years in Manchester, where things didn’t quite go to plan following an €85m move.

The 23 year-old struggled for form in England and was frozen out of Erik ten Hag’s squad earlier this season.

Sancho returns to the Bundesliga for the remainder of the campaign, where he registered 89 direct goal involvements in 105 matches during his previous spell.

The winger will be looking to rediscover his form in black and yellow and revive his trembling career.

35 minutes against Darmstadt at the weekend was all he needed to grab an assist for Marco Reus – the perfect start to a move that seems to fit so well.

But what does the future hold for Jadon Sancho and where will he fit into BVB’s ‘Rückrunde’? (German word for second half of the season)

Chapter One

In August 2017, ‘die Schwarzgelben’ secured the signature of a 17-year-old Sancho, who put pen to paper on a deal worth around €20m.

This teenage talent was no unknown at this point.

A star in Manchester City’s FA Youth Cup run, the former Watford academy man had shown bags of talent while with City, pushing the fringes of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

Forming part of a talented trio which also included Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, Sancho was part of the next generation for the Blues.

But after opting not to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola left him out of his pre-season squad for a US tour.

With that, the London-born winger wanted to put his destiny into his own hands.

Coming to Dortmund was the best decision he could’ve made.

Season by season

In North Rhine-Westphalia, Sancho was a phenomenon; he became an England international at 18 years old and took the Bundesliga by storm.

After claiming four assists and a goal across 12 appearances in his debut campaign – a disappointing one for the club – Sancho’s reputation sky-rocketed the following term.

Notching 12 goals and 18 assists in 34 league appearances, the kid was firmly regarded as one of football’s greatest talents.

The following year, he bettered that. 17 goals and 17 assists in 32 league appearances followed, with Sancho forming great chemistry with a certain Erling Haaland in the process.

Jadon Sancho in Borussia Dortmund training
Jadon Sancho alongside Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna in BVB training

But despite nursing a muscle injury during the 2020/21 season, Sancho’s red hot form showed no signs of slowing down and rumours of a move to Old Trafford weren’t going away.

In the Champions League, he claimed two goals and three assists in six games.

In the Bundesliga, he registered eight goals and 12 assists in 26 games.

Meanwhile, in the DFB-Pokal, Sancho netted six times, setting up a further five goals in just six games.

The 2021 cup final against RB Leipzig would prove to be his last match with Edin Terzic’s ‘Borussen’.

Two goals and an assist in a victorious final in Berlin were the perfect goodbye present.

What went wrong at United?

Arriving alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane on the red side of Manchester, great things were expected for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

But a slow start to the season for United eventually saw Solskjaer sacked.

In came Ralf Rangnick and Sancho enjoyed a short but sweet spell of form.

Across a span of six games, the then 21-year-old scored in the Manchester derby against his former employers and against Southampton, while grabbing assists against Leeds and Tottenham.

However, the situation worsened for both Rangnick’s United and Sancho.

Last season, the hope of a fresh start under Erik ten Hag yielded results on the pitch and a Carabao Cup title.

Sancho chipped in, with goals against Liverpool and Spurs particularly memorable, but the winger struggled to establish himself as a regular contributor in the side.

https://twitter.com/mufcMPB/status/1700115107487916057

He started both legs in the Red Devils’ Europa League win over Barcelona and had a fairly good end to the season.

But after just three games this term, the situation escalated like nobody could’ve foreseen.

Ten Hag came out and said that Sancho hadn’t been selected due to ‘poor performances in training’.

In response, the player took to social media to say he felt like a ‘scapegoat’.

Such outspoken conduct saw Sancho suspended and eventually loaned back to BVB.

There were reports during his Dortmund days that Sancho’s attitude was never the best.

Haaland has since been portrayed as a good influence on his teammate, getting him to training on time and having other similar responsibilities.

Players with such a questionable attitude won’t excel at a club heading in the wrong direction like United, with no real structure or organisation.

In a disjointed mess of a squad, it was hard for Sancho to succeed but he certainly didn’t help himself.

A win for all parties?

Jadon Sancho’s return to Borussia Dortmund certainly appears to make a lot of sense at face value.

Sancho is returning to a place that was once his happy home, where he enjoyed the best years of his career to date.

Returning to the comfort of such an environment would always appeal to him, especially with how things have gone this season at United.

He has also worked with Edin Terzic and many of the current squad at Signal Iduna Park before.

This is a great chance for him to rekindle the spark he showed in his last stint in black and yellow.

With Euro 2024 coming up, the incentive is even higher for the Englishman to succeed again.

The Premier League is currently of a higher prestige than the Bundesliga, so if he does find that form, he’ll likely be eyeing a return to the top flight with a point to prove.

United will be hoping for the same outcome. If all goes to plan, in six months’ time they’ll get a rejuvenated young player who is enjoying his football again.

Then, perhaps if ten Hag is no longer manager, Sancho may have a future at Old Trafford.

Alternatively, the Dutchman may give him another chance or the club may look to sell him on for the value he will have raised through good form.

As for Borussia Dortmund, the squad has a fresh but familiar face.

If they can help Sancho return to those levels of years ago, they’ve got one hell of a weapon as they look to surge up the table in the Rückrunde.

The club are paying a reported €7.5m for the move on top of the majority of the player’s wages.

Is that really worth it if Sancho is ultimately just using this move as a stepping stone for six months?

If he does rediscover his old self, then those abilities are priceless.

It’s definitely a concrete possibility that he will play a major role for the rest of the season.

Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham have come and gone, but the Yellow Wall will appreciate every minute that Jadon Sancho gives to this club.

It’s not often that players return to the place where they enjoyed their golden days, so ultimately, this could be a great deal for Dortmund.

However, if it doesn’t go to plan, this deal looks a lot worse for BVB than it does for United.

Where will he fit at BVB?

Jadon Sancho joins a Dortmund squad that looks slightly depleted due to injuries.

The likes of Karim Adeyemi, Sébastien Haller and Felix Nmecha are all currently nursing medical problems.

Edin Terzic’s side currently sit in fifth place in the Bundesliga.

With Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender back as assistant coaches after the winter break, now seems a good time for the club to start afresh.

A 3-0 win at Darmstadt was certainly a good start.

In that game, Sancho was brought on with 35 minutes to play, replacing Jamie Bynoe-Gittens to make his second debut for the club.

His square pass to Marco Reus 22 minutes in gave him a first assist back in Germany.

Naturally a left-winger, Sancho played on the right at Darmstadt and certainly delivered, playing on his preferred foot.

But with Donyell Malen coming in and out of form, Sancho will be eyeing his starting role on the left flank.

On that flank he may also link up with fellow January loan signing Ian Maatsen, who joined from Chelsea earlier this month.

Giovanni Reyna and Adeyemi (when he returns from injury) will also be targeting that spot.

Bynoe-Gittens followed in Sancho’s footsteps, leaving City for Dortmund almost four years ago. He will be motivated to maintain his form, having Sancho as a teammate.

He won’t be able to simply walk straight into the starting lineup.

There’s competition on the wings and Jadon Sancho will certainly have to perform to earn his place.

He’s certainly made a good start.

(Featured Image: Borussia Dortmund)