Where will Jadon Sancho fit in at Manchester United?

Where will Jadon Sancho fit in at Manchester United?

The tricky England winger is back in Manchester after a stint in Germany, but donning new colours — now Jadon Sancho goes from South London to the Stretford end after completing a £73 million move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær finally got his man after over a year of negotiations between the two sides. In a move that polarises opinion between different supporters, Sancho, a former Manchester City academy graduate, returns North but sporting the colours of the Red Devils. The 21-year-old brings a certain swagger and exuberance to a United side who looked depleted towards the back end of last season, losing the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal.

Sancho’s arrival provides much needed squad depth to a side who, despite finishing second last season, were miles off the pace of Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling Manchester City, who are favourites on the betting exchange to win another Premier League title. The big question on everyone’s lips though is how does Solskjær incorporate Sancho in his side? We are going to break down how United can develop with Sancho in their team and if they can come one step closer to their first title since 2013.

Style of Play

Since leaving City as a 17-year-old, Sancho honed his craft under the tutelage of various managers at Borussia Dortmund, renowned for their ability to develop top European talent. Upon arrival, he was raw, taking far too many touches and favouring nutmegs and flair over efficiency and end product. Flash forward three years and Sancho has almost perfected his trickery in one-on-one situations, whilst also providing 89 goal contributions in 104 Bundesliga matches. His prosperous relationship with Erling Haaland meant Dortmund boasted one of the most potent young forward lines across Europe, and the pressure on Sancho now is to rekindle that connection with his new United colleagues.

Position at United

Versatility is one of Sancho’s biggest strengths. Solskjær can deploy him either on the left or right wing to sustain the 4-2-3-1 system he has persisted with throughout his tenure. This would provide much needed rest over a busy campaign for the likes of Rashford and Bruno Fernandes who played virtually every game when available for selection. The introduction of Sancho also provides opportunity for Edinson Cavani to remain further forward and have less defensive responsibility, with Sancho and most likely Bruno Fernandes being catalysts for United’s attacks in the build-up. This will allow Cavani, who turns 35 this season, to conserve energy, remaining in the box to do what he does best – score goals. Essentially, Sancho’s introduction provides even further tactical flexibility to Solskjær, it’s just up to him to see how he uses it.

Overcoming Setbacks

Unfortunately, Sancho fell victim to some of the racist social media abuse aimed at England players after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final. Sancho has always been an advocate for Black Lives Matter, displaying an undershirt in support of George Floyd and never apologising for who he is. Despite missing his penalty it is testament to his character that he wasn’t reluctant to step up in a high-pressure situation.

“I was ready and confident to take it,” Sancho said. “These are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer. I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practised them countless times for both club and country. I picked my corner, but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.”

With Bruno Fernandes the established penalty taker at Old Trafford, Sancho can fully concentrate on his football and will have the full support of the Manchester United faithful as soon as he makes his debut at the Theatre of Dreams.

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