Sancho's Suitors: A Closer Look At The Bidding War To Come For Jadon Sancho
Arguably the most sought after talent in soccer today, Jadon Sancho is likely looking for a way out of Borussia Dortmund in either the upcoming January or Summer transfer windows. The 19-year-old English winger has been tearing apart the Bundesliga (German League) ever since his transfer away from Manchester City for around eight million pounds in 2017 due to his lack of playing time.
So far in the 2019-2020 season, Sancho has played in a combined 21 games in the Champions League and Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund, racking up a ridiculous 11 goals and 12 assists. He was the first, and is still currently the only player to reach double digits in both stats in all of Europe this season, beating the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar to the honor. These are the stats of a world-class winger in his prime, but for a 19-year-old playing in just his second season as a professional, they are quite frankly unprecedented.
This is exactly the reason why Sancho has all of the top clubs in Europe lining up in an attempt to get his signature. Because of this interest, Borussia Dortmund has put a price tag of between 100 and 120 million euros on his head, with that price likely to rise due to the inflated asking prices of the January transfer window and the number of clubs battling for Sancho. Similarly, after confirming the purchase of striker Erling Haaland for the January window on December 30th, Dortmund has come out and said that they are willing to sell Sancho.
So far, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United have all shown interest and are expected to be the figureheads of the bidding war to come. However, with big-time young talents you can never rule out clubs like FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Juventus, while other top English clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs are always in the hunt for young English talent. In this article, I will be going over each team's chances (in alphabetical order) of signing Sancho given Dortmund's asking price and each club's current situation, in the end compiling a list of who I think is the most likely to get Sancho's signature.
After overspending this past summer on players like young winger Nicolas Pepe, it is unlikely that Arsenal has any budget, let alone over 100 million pounds to spend this January. Additionally, the strongest part of Arsenal's team is their attacking players, making them extremely unlikely to spend what little money they have on another attacker. Furthermore, Arsenal just fired their manager, Unai Emery, and are in the midst of a rebuild at the club, an unappealing state for a top-level talent like Sancho. Finally, it is extremely unlikely that Arsenal qualifies for the Champions League next year, and they no longer compete for the title in England, making it improbable that Sancho would want to join the club at its current state. The one pro going for Arsenal in their quest to win Sancho is that they are from London, Sancho's hometown and Sancho would be the face of a rebuild at Arsenal if he were to join.
Bayern Munich has a long history of stealing players from their rivals, Borussia Dortmund. The giants of Germany will likely consider spending big bucks to spite their rivals and take their best player yet again.
After Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both ended their illustrious careers with the club this past season, the club has been looking for new wingers to fill the void. While Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman have been playing well for Bayern, the addition of Sancho would definitely strengthen their wings and better their attack. However, Sancho has signaled that he wants to head back to England in his next transfer, so Bayern Munich is likely a dark horse at best to win the young Englishmen's signature.
After the end of the transfer ban was announced this month, Chelsea is looking to spend big in January with a transfer budget of 150 million pounds. They lost their star winger, Eden Hazard, to Real Madrid last summer and are still looking for someone to fill his void of creativity on the pitch. Chelsea is Sancho's childhood team, with Sancho admitting that he has always been a fan of Chelsea. Similarly, the current Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, was Sancho's childhood hero due to his performances as a Chelsea player. Even better for the Blues bid, some of Sancho's best friends and international teammates for England are currently Chelsea players like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Mason Mount, and Tammy Abraham.
As a result, all signs seem to point to the Blues signing Jadon Sancho. However, Chelsea does currently have 4 great wingers in Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian, and Pedro, so there is already plenty of competition at the position. While Willian and Pedro are older and likely past their primes, Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic are extremely young and are likely to complain or ask for transfers if they lose playing time to Sancho. Overall, if Sancho is bought by Chelsea, Willian and Pedro will likely be sold and Sancho will most likely be used in rotation with Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi.
While there are no clear ties between Sancho and FC Barcelona, the sheer size, fame, and pulling power of the club make them linked to the player. Sancho has shown that he is willing to go against the basic mold of an English player by going to Dortmund as most English players never leave the English leagues. As a result, you can never rule out a surprise transfer to FC Barcelona. Similarly, as Lionel Messi grows older, Sancho would be a great player to bring in to learn from Messi and take over his spot as the star of FC Barcelona for the future.
Nevertheless, Barcelona has more talent than they know what to do with on the wings and has spent over 100 million on three attackers in the past couple of years so they are very unlikely to put in another big-money move for Sancho in the upcoming transfer windows.
The same initial analysis about FC Barcelona applies to Juventus. He really has no connections to the club, they're just linked to every good young player in the world. With most of their attackers playing through the middle, and their few wingers being either at the end of their prime or past their career-best, Juventus will be looking for some young wingers to bolster their attack in the next window. Other than that and their power in European soccer, Juventus are pretty unlikely to get Sancho anytime soon.
Liverpool just won the Club World Cup this month and are the champions of Europe from this past season. Similarly, they are on track to win the English Premier League in record fashion, so they are a prime destination for any ambitious player. However, their attacking trio of Salah, Mane, and Firmino is too good for Sancho to start for the club, and Liverpool has good enough depth in attacking positions for them to warrant spending the 100 million needed to buy Sancho.
Similarly, Sancho needs to go to a club where he is guaranteed playing time, and as a result, is not likely to go to a club that can't promise him a starting role or even minutes off of the bench. Overall, the only thing going in Liverpool's favor Is how good they have been playing and the fact that they have a lot of money to spend due to their success.
Manchester City, backed by the endless funds of a Qatari prince, is always in the mix for young talent. They developed Jadon Sancho in their youth academy, selling him on to Dortmund because they had no room on their roster to give him the minutes he needed to develop. However, now that he has proven how talented he is, they are back in the hunt for his signature. Man City is a top club in England and Europe and has more than enough money to buy a player of his caliber. But, the players that kept Sancho out of the lineup two years ago are still at the club meaning that Sancho would have to fight for time on the pitch and likely share minutes with his old teammates if he returned to Manchester. This transfer will depend on whether or not Sancho wants to return to the club and prove them wrong for not giving him a chance or if he would rather go to a new club and seek new challenges there.
Manchester United is arguably the most historic club in England, and despite their current performances, the biggest and wealthiest club in the country too. Because of this, they will always be a good destination for young English talent. Furthermore, Sancho would be the star at Manchester United if he were to sign the club, being the new face of their rebuild. This is a hard option to pass down for most players, however, by transferring to Dortmund and having his meteoric rise to stardom in Germany, Sancho has proven that he isn't most players. United are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League for next season, so Sancho would be taking a step down by signing for the English club as Dortmund are regulars in that competition. Ultimately, going to Manchester would be a long term plan for Sancho, and for a player who seems to be impatient and ambitious, may not be a move that Sancho would want to make. Nonetheless, due to their size and pull within England as well as the star role Sancho would play at the club, United have to be considered a favorite to get him in the transfer window.
The same initial analysis about FC Barcelona and Juventus applies to PSG. He really has no connections to the club, they're just linked to every good young player in the world. Backed by a wealthy Qatari prince, PSG is always in the hunt for the biggest young stars in the world. In the past couple of years, the club has spent 220 million and 180 million euros on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe respectively, showing that they are more than willing to pay big bucks for players. However, both of these players currently reside on the wings for PSG, so there is little playing time for Sancho if he were to go to the club. Similarly, the French League is not competitive anymore due to PSG's dominance in recent years, so he would really only have the Champions League to look forward to if he made the move to Paris. Overall, PSG's only hopes for signing Sancho are the high wages they would be able to pay him and the draw of being a star in Paris.
The same initial analysis about FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain applies to Real Madrid. He really has no connections to the club, they're just linked to every good young player in the world. After selling Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018 to Juventus, Madrid has been looking for a big-money signing to fill the void. They spent around 100 million on Eden Hazard this past summer, but the Belgian international has failed to live up to his price tag so far.
While a move for Sancho may give them the talent and star signing they need, Madrid and their fans seem to have set their targets on Kylian Mbappe as their new hero. Similarly, with tons of young talent in their ranks, and more wingers than they need at the club, it is unlikely that Madrid makes a move for Sancho.
Much like Arsenal, Spurs really only make this list because they are one of the top six clubs in England. However, also like Arsenal, Spurs have recently fired their manager and are in an unstable position as a club right now. Because of this, Sancho would likely look elsewhere as a preferred destination to sign. However, Spurs did bring in a proven winner as their new manager in Jose Mourinho and have lots of Sancho's English teammates on their roster like the country's captain, Harry Kane. Thus, Spurs will remain in the hunt for Sancho, but, due to their history of not spending big on players and their current form, they are not favorites to sign him, to say the least.
After taking a closer look at each team, considering their current roster, history of big-money signings, transfer budget, marketability, and Sancho's personal interests, I have compiled the following order for who I think is most likely to sign Sancho. Keep in mind that Sancho may not be sold this January, however, the English winger is likely to leave Dortmund in the next year and this list will still apply in the transfer windows to come.
2. Manchester United
4. Real Madrid
5. Manchester City
6. Bayern Munich
7. Paris Saint-Germain
9. FC Barcelona
10. Tottenham Hotspur