Jadon Sancho

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Country: England

The consensus of opinion in German media circles is that the London-born winger is God’s gift to the Bundesliga. Not only the most extravagantly-gifted player in the country, but also within a hair’s breadth of becoming a fully-fledged world-class performer. That’s an awful lot of hype to heap on a fledgling pro.

But the evidence is that the wall-to-wall praise is perfectly justified. By any metric, Sancho
is an absolute natural, a Generation Z tyro brimming over with speed, ball skills, firepower and bursts of pure genius.

Dortmund’s English midfielder Jadon Sancho vies for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04 on May 16, 2020 in Dortmund, western Germany as the season resumed following a two-month absence due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the Bundesliga in 2019-20, he offered treats to a wide variety of constituents. Fans who put a premium on attacking spectacle and fireworks cannot get enough of his virtuosity. Number-crunchers are happy to hang their hats on his statistical output – 17 goals and 16 assists in the Bundesliga, with Lionel Messi the only other player to get more than 15 of each in Europe’s top five leagues.

Youngsters with a social conscience will have appreciated his recent support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement, dedicating a goal against Paderborn to George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed during his ill-fated arrest, a white police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes.

Inevitably, for someone so young, Jadon’s 2019-20 resume does include the odd faux pas. In Dortmund’s 4-0 thumping at Bayern in November, he was so ineffectual that he was taken off only 36 minutes into the game, and last autumn he was dropped by his club for returning late from England duty.

The all-important question is whether this, his third campaign with Dortmund, will be his last. Tracked by a gaggle of Europe’s top clubs, he is thought to be keen on a return to England, with a move to Manchester United a strong possibility. Dortmund, of course, will not give him up easily. Any would-be buyer will have to pay at least €130m, and Dortmund secretly hope that such a hefty price tag will scare off the raiders in these perilous economic times.

When asked about his future in last month’s issue of World Soccer, the youngster played a straight bat: “I don’t know what to say to that. It’s hard to say. That’s the future. You never know what could happen, so we will wait and see.” Indeed we will.

Dortmund’s English midfielder Jadon Sancho jumps for a ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Augsburg in Dortmund, western Germany on August 17, 2019. 

Wherever Sancho does play his football next season, he can be sure of a place in the England squad for Euro 2020. A starting spot is less certain, with Gareth Southgate assembling a dynamic and dangerous front line, with intense competition for places.

Shifting one of Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane will be a difficult task, but the thought of Europe’s most dangerous dribbler emerging from the bench to run at tiring legs should fill any England fan with hope – and opponents with dread.

Article by Nick Bidwell