The short-term Jadon Sancho plan that might force Manchester United into permanent rethink – Manchester Evening News

Figures responsible for transfers at Old Trafford have been working towards this moment for quite some time.

Only as Manchester United prepare to officially welcome Jadon Sancho to the club from Borussia Dortmund, they might just be forced into an 11th-hour rethink.

While there have been plenty of stumbling blocks when it comes to dealing with the Bundesliga side, the on-field plan for Sancho appeared quite simple – sign him at all costs and, ultimately, solve a problem position.

But that is where further complications arise.

As the dust continues to settle on England’s heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Euro 2020 winners Italy, Sancho – and Marcus Rashford for that matter – need to be nursed back into a high-pressure environment as they come to terms with their respective spot-kick misses.

Set to undergo surgery on a troublesome shoulder injury, Rashford has already been afforded that by default.

Despite pulling out all the stops and waiting four long years to welcome Sancho back to Manchester, this time on the red half of the city, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have ideally liked a little time before thrusting his big-money transfer into a key role in United’s attack.

Indeed, the long-term prospect of Sancho, Rashford and Mason Greenwood does appear enticing.

As it has played out, though, that setback to Rashford means Sancho may no longer be afforded bedding-in time – even if Solskjaer does, of course, have Edinson Cavani and even Paul Pogba to call upon in attacking quarters.

By the time United stride out at Old Trafford for their season-opener with bitter rivals Leeds United, all will become clear in terms of Solskjaer’s tactical approach.

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Ultimately, though, while Sancho has been signed to address that problem area on the right flank, his initial days as a United player might just come on the other side of the pitch.

A short-term fix, perhaps, but his staggering career numbers suggest the opposite.

Sancho is no stranger to a challenge. He was 14 when he left Watford for Manchester City and three years later he took the brave decision to head across to Germany with Dortmund.

Even on Sunday night, the 21-year-old showed great courage in stepping up for his country amid the highest stakes imaginable on a football pitch.

No matter which way you look at them, the numbers racked up by Sancho in Germany are staggering.

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Pulling on the famous yellow jersey 137 times across all competitions, the fleet-footed Londoner scored 50 goals and laid on 64 assists for his Dortmund teammates – as Erling Haaland will, latterly, no doubt be extremely thankful for when looking back at his own return rate.

Surprisingly, across his career there and with City’s Under-23s, Sancho has actually enjoyed more success operating from the left-hand side – Rashford’s usual berth.

Not that there is much between these rates, mind, with the United-bound forward directly involved in 73 goals (81 games) as a left-winger and 62 (72 games) on the right.

A convenient accident or expert scouting? United’s long-term plans for Sancho might just be cast aside in order to bring them greater rewards in the short-term, while handing Greenwood further exposure.

What position would you most like to see Sancho play? Let us know in the comments section below.

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