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Jadon Sancho: Who is Borussia Dortmund's new signing?

September 1, 2017

Following his deadline day move, 17-year-old Jadon Sancho has become Borussia Dortmund's first ever English player. DW profiles the young forward who believes he can develop further with the Black and Yellows.

Screenshot Twitter Borussia Dortmund verpflichtet Jado Sancho
Image: BVB/Twitter

Ousmane Dembele may have left Borussia Dortmund after just one season but more young talents are already stepping up to take his place.

Christian Pulisic doesn’t turn 19 until later this month but is already a first-team regular while new signing Dan-Axel Zagadou, who has only just turned 18 himself, has already impressed in Dortmund’s first two league games.

And Dembelé’s no.7 shirt also has a new owner - 17-year-old Jadon Sancho is the latest addition to the Dortmund set-up after completing a seven-million-euro transfer from Manchester City. 

FC Barcelona Präsentation von Neuzugang Ousmane Dembele
Ousmane Dembele's departure to Barcelona has opened the door for SanchoImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Fernandez

Who is Jadon Sancho?

Born in London, Sancho joined Watford’s academy aged 7 before moving to Manchester City in 2015. He quickly became a key member of the side which reached the FA Youth Cup Final in 2016 and 2017, scoring 15 goals in 19 starts for City's under-18s before adding another five goals for the under-21s.

“Sancho operates on the left-hand side,” wrote the "Manchester Evening News." “He’s a slick, quick winger able to retain ball control at high speed and in uncomfortable spaces.”

He demonstrated those qualities at the European Under-17 Championships in Croatia this summer, where he helped England reach the final with five goals and five assists, performances which saw him named player of the tournament – an award previously won by the likes of Toni Kroos, Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney.

Deutschland DFB Pokal Finale FC Bayern München - Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola hasn't managed to give many opportunities to academy graduates. Image: Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach

Lack of opportunity

But Sancho thought his opportunities would be limited in east Manchester. Despite billions of pounds of investment in academy facilities since the club’s takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, City have struggled to produce any homegrown first-team regulars. Striker Kelechi Iheanacho made 29 competitive appearances last season but, despite scoring seven goals, the 20-year-old was sold to Leicester City.

Sancho appears convinced that he can develop better in Dortmund, saying in a statement that “the time is right for a new challenge where I can start to fulfil my potential.”

Dortmund’s scouting department, led by influential head scout Sven Mislintat, has a record of unearthing some of the brightest talents in European football. Dembele, Pulisic and Zagadou followed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski, while Dortmund also have a good record for identifying promising German talents such as midfielders Julian Weigl, Mahmoud Dahoud and forward Maximillian Philipp. It’s a record that doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I made a conscious decision to join BVB because it’s a huge club which always manages to integrate young players into the first team and develop them further at the highest level,” said Zagadou this summer.

Jadon Sancho will have no shortage of competition in Dortmund, but he couldn’t be in a better place for his talent to flourish.