The fall of Jadon Sancho: From Man Utd and England's £74m hope to public row with Erik ten Hag

Jadon Sancho GFXGOAL

Manchester United had tried to sign Jadon Sancho for years. And who could blame them? The winger was a generational talent, and after leaving the English game in search of first-team football, he had taken the Bundesliga by storm, averaging more than a goal contribution in every game for Borussia Dortmund.

After tracking him from 2018 and then opting against a move in 2019 after haggling over his transfer fee, United finally got their man in July 2021, paying £74 million for an England regular and one of the most coveted players in Europe. But fast-forward two years and Sancho has gone from being English football's next great hope into a ghost-like figure.

He was absent from the United squad for several months last season and when he did return, he often gave anonymous performances, looking shorn of the pace, power and invention that had made him such a thrilling prospect. And after only being given cameo roles in United's opening three games of the 2023-24 season, he was completely absent from the squad for the trip to Arsenal.

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Fans assumed he must have been injured, but after the match Erik ten Hag gave a surprisingly honest response when asked about Sancho's absence. "On his performance on training we didn't select him," he said. "You have to reach the level every day at Manchester United. You can make choices in the front line, so in this game, he wasn't selected."

Sancho was quick to bite back and defend himself, claiming he had been made "a scapegoat for a long time". Sancho risked getting himself into trouble with his response, but it was actually refreshing to see him fight back. For too long it has felt like his career has stalled, that the fire he used to have has burned out.

GOAL charts the rise and fall of one of England's brightest talent, who went to Germany and conquered but appears lost back in his homeland.