It’s been a long time coming but Jadon Sancho is almost a Manchester United player with a £73m move agreed with Borussia Dortmund.
The Old Trafford club have been pursuing him for several years and after missing out on him last summer, the move finally materialised this year and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will get his number one target for the right-wing position.
But what was it that Manchester United scouts and staff saw in Sancho that made him the undisputed number one target for the position? We’ve taken a look at the best of the England international and what separates him from the rest of the club’s options in attack.
Perfectly timed pass in-behind
One of Sancho’s biggest strengths in attack is the timing of his pass when creating for his teammates.
The 21-year-old has been a regular in the starting lineup for Dortmund for almost three years already and we’ve seen his game develop to a new level each year. Something he has perfected though is a perfectly timed pass in behind the defence when dribbling at speed.
Often you’ll see him driving inside with the ball, either from the right or left and then one of his teammates will dart in behind in the opposite direction to the defenders. Sancho has a knack of being able to time that ball perfectly but also weighting it and directing it flawlessly, leaving his colleague one on one with the goalkeeper – something Edinson Cavani will absolutely thrive off.
Currently United’s best goal scorers are all emphatic finishers with Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford all preferring to blast the ball past a goalkeeper.
What Sancho offers is the preference to just calmly roll the ball past a goalkeeper, often preferring accuracy over power. The vast majority of the goals he has scored have come from him side footing the ball into the net and that composure in front of goal will help take United’s attack to the next level.
Body feints and nutmegs
Sancho spoke recently about his mindset when playing football often coming from his time in the cages as a youngster, and that explains his love for the nutmeg so much.
Sancho completed more nutmegs in Europe’s top five leagues than any player not named Marcus Rashford or Neymar last season and his body feints with the ball at his feet have seen his style compared to the Brazilian on several occasions. We’ve seen him drop defenders to their knees with a shimmy and United will now have that ability to open defences up in one on one situations from both wings simultaneously once the 21-year-old arrives.
When Juan Mata was at his absolute best during his Chelsea days, he used his lack of size as an advantage by playing quick one-twos to create space for himself rather than physical attributes.
Sancho has a similar type of style in tight situations, using technical attributes to shift the angle of his play and play passes in tight spaces to open up the pitch elsewhere. United have struggled against low blocks in the past and this element of Sancho’s game will help to open those up and ultimately will help the Reds earn points they won’t have won in the past under Solskjaer.
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