Does Jadon Sancho returning to Borussia Dortmund make sense?

With the transfer window opening the rumour mill is in full swing with a potential return to Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho seemingly on the cards. Rescuing the England winger from his nightmare at Manchester United will be emotionally attractive to BVB fans, but does bringing back the former favourite make footballing sense? Here we take a look at the pros and cons behind a Sancho return.

It would be controversial to say that Jadon Sancho’s career is at a pivotal crossroads and the current winter transfer window could offer him a way out of the dead-end that has become of his career progression. Having blossomed into one of Europe’s most talked about youngsters during his four seasons spent at the Signal Iduna Park, he duly earned a big-money move to the Premier League with Manchester United.

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Three seasons later, and after being largely unable to transfer his Bundesliga form to the English Premier League, he finds himself banished from the first-team squad by United trainer Eric ten Hag. The coach has cited ‘below-par performance in training’- something which the player refutes. Sancho claims he has been made a scapegoat for the club’s decline and has well publicised issues with his mental health. 

Whatever the truth of the matter, it seems obvious that his time at United is over and a move away- be it on loan or on a permanent deal would be best for both parties. That is where Borussia Dortmund appears on the radar. It is being widely reported that the Schwarzgelben are preparing to take Sancho back on loan, whilst paying a quite substantial fee of around €3 million. 

The pros

If Borussia Dortmund fans listen to their hearts, then a return of the prodigal son is a no-brainer. The signing of the 23-year-old winger would inject some real quality into the BVB attack and potentially help kick start their season, which has seen them finish fifth going into the winter break. 

The Signal Iduna Park is Sancho’s footballing home and the club have never really been able to adequately replace him on the flanks. Both Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen were signed as replacements, but both are not ‘natural’ wingers, preferring to operate in a more central striking role. Sancho would provide that out-and-out threat the side has been missing. 

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Sancho remains a very good player despite the accusation that he has been a flop at Manchester United. The fact that the English heavyweights paid €85 million for him heaped massive pressure on him, but his raw numbers show that is by no means a weak link in the Manchester United squad- the whole club is a mess and that really is not down to Jadon Sancho.

He is a creator and with Niklas Füllkrug spearheading the attack and with Sebastien Haller in reserve, the addition of Sancho’s talent on the wing could be an excellent compliment to the BVB forward arsenal.

The cons

Dortmund don’t have a great record when it comes to resigning ex-players with the second spells never really living up to the heights/ expectations. Mats Hummels aside, there have been countless examples of players’ second spells at the club failing to cut the mustard. Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa, and Nuri Sahin all largely disappointed after returning to the club and the danger is that ‘listening to the heart’ could lead to yet another example of a spoiled homecoming.

There is the obvious accusation that the Jadon Sancho Dortmund will be signing is not the same Jadon Sancho, who left the club in 2021. He was unable to just transfer his BVB form to Old Trafford and the danger is that the club are signing an ‘ideal’ rather than taking into account the reality that the player has changed (and not necessarily for the better).

His arrival would also have a potential negative effect on players such as Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Julien Duranville, who are the club’s most natural wingers on the books. Bynoe-Gittens has particularly emerged in the Hinrunde and shown that he could develop into a key first-teamer, but the added competition from Sancho would surely impact his chances. Duranville too would move down the pecking order for a place in the wide areas.

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Paying €3 million would take a sizable chunk out of Dortmund’s transfer budget and the squad has other areas of the squad that need more urgent attention (defensive midfield, full backs, central defence). Sancho’s arrival might necessitate fringe players being offloaded and many fans would be unhappy if for example Youssoufa Moukoko was sacrificed on loan somewhere. 

It has also been well documented that Sancho can be difficult to manage. Does Edin Terzic need the added responsibility of ‘minding’ the winger when he is already under intense pressure to deliver results and convince the doubters of his tactical acumen? Sancho, in his first spell at the club, often had difficulties with punctuality to training and would often take himself off back to England on his off days. He has spoken about his mental health issues and the club need to consider if this is the right time to be taking a gamble on Sancho rediscovering his old self.

A gamble worth taking?

The heart says ‘yes’ to Jadon Sancho returning to the Signal Iduna Park and tearing up the Bundesliga again with his dazzling attacking play, goals and assists, but the head says that Dortmund should be very careful about expecting too much from a player, who hasn’t been involved with the Manchester United first-team squad at all since the start of September 2023.

What do you think? Should BVB take a chance on their former idol, or should they be more pragmatic? 

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball