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Jadon Sancho, a magician to shake PSG

Back to square one.

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Jadon Sancho, a magician to shake PSG

Back to square one. A native of London, who played for Watford's youth teams and trained at Manchester City, Jadon Sancho arrived in Dortmund in 2017 for just over €20 million. Overtaking Bayern, the leaders of BVB had smelled the right move, they who were looking for a successor to Ousmane Dembélé, who left for FC Barcelona after only one year in the Ruhr. Good pick. Aged 17 at the time, the English winger saw his integration slowed down by injuries, playing only a dozen matches during his first season (1 goal, 4 assists). 2018-19, the real start of his German adventure. Fruitful adventure. In Dortmund, Jadon Sancho, author of 52 goals and 66 assists in 152 matches in all competitions, and winner of a German Cup (2021) along the way, has established himself as one of the best wingers in Europe, the kind of player that the big European houses are chasing.

It was Manchester United who pocketed the bet in 2021, for €85 million. Having become an English international in the meantime (23 caps, 3 goals), the crazy dribbler arrived at Old Trafford at the same time as Raphaël Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo. Beautiful promises. Individually or collectively, the account was not there. Far from it… These Red Devils disappointed, and so did he.

Sancho never really convinced Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and even less Erik ten Hag. The latter sidelined him last September, justifying his decision by the “performance of (his) player in training”. The person concerned responded on social networks. “Don’t believe what you read! I won't accept people saying completely false things, I behaved very well in training all week. I believe there are other reasons that I will not mention,” he declared, describing himself as “a scapegoat”. MU had mentioned a “disciplinary problem” and we did not see him on the field again until the winter transfer window, when Borussia repatriated him, on loan, to revive him. Back to basics to bounce back better?

Despite two assists in his first two matches, Sancho started Act II in Dortmund smoothly, not to say muted. Lack of bite, confidence, and rhythm too. He had only played a total of 76 minutes since the start of the season! “We must not forget that he has not played for a long time. It's like when a player suffers a cruciate ligament injury and is out for a long period of time. We need him,” said Sebastian Kehl at the beginning of March, after Sancho’s goal in Bremen (2-1 victory), his first since his return. A goal which allowed us to “see how great a footballer he is”, as the sporting director of the German club assured at the time, highlighting his abilities to “make the difference, especially in situations of a against one. Everyone is happy for Jadon because we all saw how hard he worked and how willing he was to help the team. This goal will help him and give him a boost,” said the former German defender.

Also read: PSG: Regularity, efficiency, reliability… Dembélé, the age of reason

Four days later, Jadon Sancho “broke” by opening the score in the 3rd minute during the 8th final return leg of C1 against PSV Eindhoven (2-0). “It's always good to have him with you, within the team and the group but also on the pitch, because you know he is capable of doing magical things,” Terzic said in February, describing a player “full of joy”. “He’s not yet 100%, but we’re going to get him there,” he added in March.

And to complete, Friday: “Jadon Sancho and I see that he is not yet at his best, but that is normal and we knew that when we decided to bring him back this winter. But we also know is capable of reaching this maximum level very quickly. The question is whether it is possible to do it every three days. But he does something that shows his extraordinary talent in every practice. He works hard".

Work pays. And he still has his magic paw. The proof with this goal last Saturday, during the debacle on the field of RB Leipzig (4-1). Not ruling out the idea of ​​a “magnificent shot in his dribbles, his support recoveries, his leg passes”, beIN SPORTS consultant Patrick Guillou confirms that “he is not yet the Sancho of yesteryear a few years old, he is not yet at this level. Afterwards, to his credit, he gained a lot of muscle mass on his upper body, he seemed less fit than he was, also less casual and less of a dribbler. He nevertheless still has these qualities, but in the collective, he makes the defensive replacements that he did not do three years ago. Before, you always had to be behind him, asking him to come back and stand in front of the full-back. There, he does it more easily,” he continues.

Also read PSG champion of France: And now, the Cups to write the legend

The Parisians can only hope that Jadon Sancho will show his Mancunian face more than that of his first visit to Dortmund on Wednesday (9 p.m.), at Signal Iduna Park, in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League. One thing is certain: the English international is gaining strength over the weeks and matches, he who has not been called up to the “Three Lions” since October 2021. There is no doubt that remarkable performances against Paris, or even in C1 final, on June 1, at Wembley (London), could not do any harm with a view to a place at the Euro, in Germany...

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