Manager Jose Mourinho hasn’t gone on record yet, but it is safe to say he wants to sign the Seville-born, South London-raised, 16-year-old prospect, Jadon Sancho, for Manchester United. And, right now, the most important and highly touted midfielder on the Premier League’s hottest property list is in Manchester helping to prepare Manchester City’s Oliver Giroud for the Champions League final.
Sancho was born in Spain, but his family moved to the UK when he was 3. His parents are both English, so Sancho chose to study and play for England after the school system there asked for English-speakers. It is likely because of the struggles of living in England as a child, in particular the teaching system, that he is willing to put his football career on hold. His father, Omar, is also a talented footballer, so Jadon will have the support to succeed as his father had before him.
Younger brother Axel Sancho, who is 18, became one of the most prominent players in the Premier League last season. The Dortmund winger is a winger whose pace and agility can make him a nightmare for defenders, both at the top level and in certain leagues like Germany. Axel, who scored 24 goals in the Bundesliga last season, is already being linked with Arsenal and a move to the Premier League on his own.
Jadon is even older. He was still in elementary school when his brother started playing in Germany in 2013. The younger Sancho has been tearing up the lower echelons of the Bundesliga, with 36 appearances for Borussia Dortmund last season. He was even nominated for the Puskas Award for goal of the season for his own first strike of the season against Augsburg.
Sancho is small for a center midfielder, but his technical skill and acceleration allow him to dart into holes and drift through small spaces. That enabled him to reach 24 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco last season, with the team’s coach, Leonardo Jardim, giving him the freedom to drift past defenders on the wing and create openings on the counter. Manchester City, though, is considered to be the front-runner for his signature. The club not only has a vacancy in the center of midfield but a new manager in Ederson Cabral, who has his eye on Aubameyang.
Sancho is a specialist on set pieces. Perhaps most notable of all, he can score with his head, which is why such a strong stance has been taken by his former club, Barcelona, for permission to sign a healthy and healthy man to become an integral part of their future. José Mourinho was the coach for Barcelona at the time. Now he is being asked to coach Manchester United. The lad will be allowed a few months of rest and rehab in Madrid.
Soccer is not at a time when other players are electing to terminate their contract and move to America or China. But this opportunity is not just about the money. The opportunity to play and possibly play well for a big club like Manchester United in one of the most prestigious stadiums in the world is hard to pass up.
England’s Under-17 World Cup final is Saturday. Manchester City could take Sancho’s shot at international soccer. But the rookie may want to have fun and see what the Premier League is like before he makes any decisions.