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Aaron Lennon

‘World class’ Sancho brings style and swagger to Man Utd

London (AFP) – Jadon Sancho will bring style and swagger to Manchester United’s attack after the England forward completed a £73 million ($100 million) move which is expected to ignite his club’s Premier League title charge this season.

Sancho’s switch from Borussia Dortmund on Friday made him the second most expensive English player of all time behind United defender Harry Maguire.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been desperate to sign Sancho for 18 months and the dynamic 21-year-old should provide an extra cutting edge as his team look to dethrone champions Manchester City.

United finished second, 12 points behind City, then lost the Europa League final on penalties after struggling to break down a stubborn Villarreal defence.

It was United’s sporadic problems up front that proved fatal to former United striker Solskjaer’s hopes of winning the first trophy of his managerial reign at Old Trafford and the Norwegian believes Sancho can make the difference.

Having boldly left Manchester City aged 17 in search of regular first-team action, Sancho arrives back in the Premier League established as one of Europe’s brightest young stars after four years in Germany.

Although Sancho missed a crucial penalty during England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, he had impressed on his only start in the tournament in the quarter-final rout of Ukraine.

If Sancho can shake off the angst of that spot-kick miscue, he should prove a captivating figure at Old Trafford, where some are already backing him to emulate United legend Cristiano Ronaldo’s astonishing spell in England.

United have plenty of potential in their forward line, with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood only 23 and 19 respectively.

Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial are the other members of United’s attack, but Sancho’s verve and versatility will offer Solskjaer more options than any of his new team-mates.

While his strength is playing on the right wing, Sancho can feature all across the forward area, while he has also played as a wing-back.

– ‘He excites us a lot’ –

Blessed with quick feet, supreme balance and searing pace, Sancho unsettles defences and is a relentless attacking threat.

“Jadon’s is an unusual story for a young English player. He’s been brave enough to go abroad and play. He is a player that excites us a lot,” England manager Gareth Southgate said.

Since the start of the 2018/19 season, Sancho has a combined goals and assists record of 78, which puts him into the top 10 across Europe’s leading divisions.

Only Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (43) has created more goals than Sancho (41) in that period.

“Jadon’s a world-class player, no question about that. I’ve rarely seen a player who has come so far at such a young age,” former Dortmund boss Lucien Favre said.

Sancho scored 16 goals in all competitions during the 2020/21 season, five fewer than Rashford, but four more than Greenwood, and nine more than Martial.

He has shown he can deliver when the stakes are highest after scoring twice in the German Cup final to fire Dortmund to a 4-1 victory over Leipzig in May.

Having watched Sancho rise to prominence in Germany’s top-flight, Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller is a big admirer.

“There are other dribblers with similar qualities in the Bundesliga. But they don’t have his outstanding decision making,” Muller said. 

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