Should Borussia Dortmund consider a Jadon Sancho return?

Jadon Sancho. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Jadon Sancho. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Borussia Dortmund have been linked with Jadon Sancho in recent weeks, spurring rumors about a possible return to the Westfalenstadion.

When Borussia Dortmund sanctioned the transfer of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United back in 2021, many expected the young English international to hit the ground running in the Premier League. His clear footballing acumen and influential nature on the ball, coupled with his brilliant ability to take players on one on one made him one of the most crucial components of Dortmund’s attacking play, and it’s no surprise that many were sorry to see him go.

Sancho was not the first to make the jump to the Premier League from Borussia Dortmund, nor the first player to change the Westfalenstadion for Old Trafford. He followed in the footsteps of two very influential BVB players when they were at the peak of their powers: Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Unfortunately for Sancho, his stint to this point has mirrored both Kagawa’s and Mikhi’s excursions to the top flight of English football. He has been unable to stamp his authority on the Manchester United team and in effect played the role of a bit-part player. This has begun to change under Erik Ten Hag’s tenure at the helm of United, but Sancho has yet to regain even a flicker of the mercurial nature that made him one of the most sought after players in European football at the time of his move.

Borussia Dortmund have allegedly flirted with the idea of bringing Sancho back to the club in a move that we’ve seen other former players make. The likes of Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze, and Nuri Şahin have all made big profile moves, struggled, and then returned to BVB only to play at a fraction of the level they were playing at before their departure. Many see these moves in hindsight as reunions born of nostalgia rather than necessity.

The question then is, would such a move for Sancho be in the same vein? The answer to this question isn’t as straight forward, as the feasibility of such a move would come down to a host of factors, not all of which are in Sancho or Dortmund’s control.

For one, a return to Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho would have to be posited in a way where the club could mitigate any possible negative fallout from the move not working out, and that would come from the structure of the deal. Neither a simple loan nor outright purchase would fit the bill; but a combination of the two in the form of a loan with a reasonable option to buy would be an agreeable deal to contemplate.

The reason for this is, while Sancho succeeded with BVB previously, his form has been diminished throughout his stint in Manchester, and he is a player whose wages would be substantial. While I expect any metaphorical deal would include the player taking a substantial pay cut, he would certainly still be one of the team’s highest earning players.

To ensure the viability of a future with Sancho, a loan with an option to buy would be the preferential way to go. If a move were to not work out, Dortmund are not forced to keep a player on massive wages that isn’t contributing to the development and success of the squad, and while I do think it’s rather likely Sancho would bounce back and play quite well in Dortmund should a return actually materialize, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially in this current market.

Unfortunately for Borussia Dortmund, and Jadon Sancho if he truly is interested, the necessary parameters for such a move to materialize are unlikely at this juncture. It’s already been noted that Sancho is not a “hot topic” at BVB by reliable sources and at most the club would be able to loan him.

This, in the grand scheme of things doesn’t suit United or Dortmund in the long run. For United, moving on Jadon Sancho would represent an opportunity to start fresh in the winger department and they would likely want to look into bringing in a new player to take his place. Funds from a Sancho departure would be geared towards making that a reality.

Next. The Jude Bellingham conundrum that awaits Borussia Dortmund this summer. dark

For Borussia Dortmund, a simple loan would not only see them developing a player for another club, but even if they were to be successful with him in the squad, his inclusion could possibly stunt the growth of young players “waiting in the wings”, i.e. both Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Julien Duranville. Hence, any move for Sancho would have to be with the idea in mind that there is an option for the deal to become permanent, otherwise it makes little sense going forward.