Factor in a four-year stoppage at Borussia Dortmund and you might not be too far off in picking Manchester United’s main target ahead of the summer transfer window.
Jadon Sancho was first linked with a move to United when he decided to embark on a Bundesliga adventure.
His path to the top hasn’t been less convincing than former Manchester City academy teammate Phil Foden, for example, but Sancho eventually had to travel elsewhere to become one of the hottest properties in the area. world football.
This might not have been the case if he had directly chosen to replace blue with red in 2017.
Nonetheless, despite not having made a single senior game for City, England winger Sancho represents the quality of talent that can slip through the nets at top clubs, even in a sport shaped by academies. of the Premier League who do their best to universally accumulate this. potential.
Sancho is neither the first nor the last player to enter this category; it is simply the most prominent now.
A few years before him, defender Tosin Adarabioyo – now with United midweek opponent Fulham – was an academy prospect pushed by Pep Guardiola for big things during the former Barcelona coach’s big arrival.
Shortly after landing in the Premier League, the Spaniard released a glowing record of the then 18-year-old Adarabioyo.
Guardiola said: “He has all the quality. He is fast. He’s faster than people might think and he’s strong in the air. He has the quality of looking behind the line for the next step, the next pass. He has a lot to improve and I hope I can help him develop his skills. ”
Five years later, the defender left City – but continues to receive another big transfer.
It’s incredibly difficult for a center-back like Adarabioyo to shine in his current environment. Fulham, despite a mid-season recovery, has been on a one-way ticket to the Championship for almost the entire last time in the Premier League.
A difficult task, certainly. But with Fulham’s struggles came constant exposure and scrutiny of his defensive credentials. Put bluntly, Adarabioyo has passed.
In 31 top-flight appearances – following a £ 2million summer change from City – the Manchester-born defender has produced more clearances than any other player (178) in the division.
That impressive tally includes a record 17 in one game against Liverpool.
Adarabioyo can do more than just lead or kick him. Indeed, its success rate is 85.9%; a figure that would appeal to most central midfielders, while, as Guardiola suggests, he has pace to burn.
United are very much on the lookout for a £ 80million long-term partner, captain Harry Maguire.
Raphael Varane and Pau Torres are among the top names that have been retained, while Brighton prospect Ben White has also become a possible target.
Perhaps, however, United can rekindle a path they want Sancho to take in order to find another piece of the transfer puzzle that awaits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a few weeks.
Arsenal and Newcastle United are reported to be evaluating a summer hit. Importantly, with relegation to the league already confirmed, Adarabioyo wouldn’t necessarily break the bank for United either.