How do you solve a problem like Jadon Sancho?

 | January 08 | 

4 mins read

man utd old trafford scaled

Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho is in talks with former club Borussia Dortmund about a return on loan. The Bundesliga outfit pocketed £73 million for the England international back in 2021. But after difficulties on the field and off, Der BVB look set to secure the return of their former asset on cut-price terms.

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United Tips

  • Manchester United Total Goals: Over 2.5 @ 11/10
  • Marcus Rashford to score first @ 10/3

How have we got here? Sancho was supposed to transform United’s stodgy wing play, bringing about a return to the great traditions. The pressure to perform in the traditional Old Trafford glamour position seems to have been too much to bear for Sancho. It is a fact manager Erik ten Hag acknowledged when he sent the player to a private training camp to recover fitness last winter.

Sancho endured a tough first season in the famous red, netting just three Premier League goals in 29 appearances. But that 2021-22 campaign was a troubled one for the entire club. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November before Michael Carrick took the side for three games. The ex-player was then replaced by Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis, but the German was desperately poor in the role. Against this backdrop of uncertainty, Sancho failed to launch.


Ten Hag took charge in the summer and Sancho started well under his new boss. But old inconsistencies with fitness crept in and by December, Sancho had been dispatched on his private training regime. Sancho did get back into Ten Hag’s plans, playing in the final of the victorious Carabao Cup campaign and the FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City.

It had been a mixed season for Sancho, but one that perhaps pointed at a more positive future. Despite some difficulties, Ten Hag had shown how much Sancho’s involvement meant to him by putting in bespoke effort to work with him. United had finished a creditable third with a trophy to show for their promising first season under a new boss. It looked briefly like the only way was up for manager, player and team.

We know now that this was a false dawn, one of many in the fraught post-Sir Alex Ferguson years at Old Trafford. However the same could be said for Sancho on a personal level. The player who had fought his way back into Ten Hag’s plans and a pair of Wembley appearances was seemingly gone. 

Ten Hag left Sancho out of the squad for a clash with Arsenal in September. The ex-Ajax manager cited “his performances in training” and the fact you "have to reach a level every day at Manchester United" as his reasons. Sancho hit back via social media, saying, "I will not allow people saying things that is completely untrue, I have conducted myself very well in training this week... I've been a scapegoat for a long time which isn't fair!"

The matter was handled internally and reportedly, Ten Hag was willing to allow Sancho in from the cold if he apologised. It is reported that this offer was rebuffed and the 23-year-old has not trained with the first team. Ten Hag was questioned last month on Sancho’s playing return, with the Dutchman saying, "He knows what he has to do, it is up to him".


With no apology incoming, it looks like the relationship is irrevocably broken. Not for the first time, United have brought in a high-priced player who has flattered to deceive. Despite being just 23 and an England international, the club are once again forced to shop a player round, cap-in-hand. United’s failure in the resale market is an article in itself, but Sancho isn’t the first high-profile player whose reputation has eroded away into nothing at Old Trafford.

Dortmund themselves would argue they are taking on enough risk as it is. Sancho has not looked like the player who rocketed onto the world stage at Signal Iduna Park very often since leaving. Meanwhile, problems with timekeeping and discipline reportedly stretch back to at least his time in the Bundesliga. Dortmund seems like a logical place for a Sancho rebuild and the fact it is a loan protects the German side.

It does not protect or benefit United in any great way. The problem becomes “out of sight, out of mind” for a short period. But even if Sancho hits a rich vein of form at a familiar club, he is unlikely to command half of the £73 million they paid for him. The winger has also shown he has no willingness to climb down from his stance when it comes to Ten Hag. It is an awkward situation for all involved. No matter what happens this month, it is unlikely to be resolved for a good while.


Share Article

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)