How has in-demand Jadon Sancho performed this season?
Jadon Sancho has emerged as one of the most coveted young players in world football over the past two seasons, bursting onto the scene at both club and international level despite still being in his teenage years.by Barney Corkhill
The England international took the bold decision to leave a Manchester City side on the brink of becoming all-conquering domestically under Pep Guardiola in 2017, moving abroad to join Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.
Having left specifically to gain more first-team experience, Sancho has grabbed that opportunity with both hands and, less than three years after leaving Man City for £8m, the reigning Premier League champions are among the clubs thought to be interested in bringing him back to England for a fee of at least £100m.
The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also understood to be monitoring the winger, with Dortmund now reportedly resigned to losing him at the end of the campaign.
It has certainly been a meteoric rise for the former Watford academy product from Camberwell, and here Sports Mole looks at how he has fared so far in 2019-20.
It is no surprise to see Sancho being so highly valued and coveted when you look at the company he is keeping in the Bundesliga individual charts, with only Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner outscoring him so far this season.
Sancho may be eight goals behind Werner and 10 adrift of Lewandowski, but they are two of the best centre-forwards in world football at the moment whereas Sancho plays primarily from the right wing.
The 19-year-old has already matched his Bundesliga tally of 12 goals from last season, doing so in just 19 league games compared to 34 outings from his breakthrough campaign, while in all competitions he has already surpassed his 2018-19 tally in 14 fewer games.
Sancho is averaging better than a goal every other game with 15 from 29 outings, including two in the Champions League.
It is the assists which arguably set the youngster apart, though; his tally of 14 is the best in the Bundesliga ahead of Thomas Muller and teammate Thorgan Hazard, and across all competitions he has created 17 goals for those alongside him.
Indeed, since joining Dortmund Sancho has registered a whopping 40 assists and 29 goals from just 84 appearances across all competitions.
No player in the Bundesliga has been directly involved in more goals than the Englishman this term, with his tally of 26 from just 19 games putting him level with Werner and one ahead of Lewandowski, both of whom have played two games more than Sancho.
How much would Dortmund miss him?
As impressive as Sancho's numbers are, there are reasons for Dortmund to be confident that they can continue to be a force in German football without him.
A £100m fee for a teenager is very difficult to turn down, even if that sum is only likely to increase on current form, and Sancho's trajectory follows a familiar theme for Dortmund, who have become masters of snapping up relatively cheap talent, improving them and then selling them on for a huge profit in recent years.
The club have done the same with Mario Gotze, Mats Hummels, Ousmane Dembele, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic, while the purchases of wonderkids Erling Braut Haaland and Giovanni Reyna look to have set them up for more of the same in the future.
Those in charge at the Westfalenstadion will have also looked at exactly how much impact Sancho has beyond the headline figures, and those statistics paint a slightly different picture.
Only two of the youngster's 12 league goals have won the game for Dortmund, which is fewer winners than 13 other players in the division have managed, whereas Lewandowski leads the way with seven - a tally which comes with the territory of being the top scorer but also points at a much more effective level than Sancho.
The former Man City man is by no means Dortmund's only attacking weapon either, with Marco Reus, Haaland, Julian Brandt, Paco Alcacer, Hazard and even right-back Achraf Hakimi weighing in with important contributions in the final third.
Sancho remains the most prolific of those, but in the wider scheme of things he has scored just over 20% of his side's Bundesliga goals this season - 14 players have netted a higher proportion for their teams.
There have also been question marks over his discipline, with manager Lucien Favre leaving him out of his squad for a match and fining him £86,000 earlier in the campaign after he returned late from international duty.
Sancho was also hauled off after only 36 minutes of a match against Bayern Munich in November, leading to reports that the player himself was unhappy at his treatment by the Dortmund hierarchy.
However, few would expect him to be the complete package at just 19 years old and, while it will cost a lot of money to win the race for his signature this summer, whoever does complete the deal will be getting one of the most exciting prospects in world football.
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