Sancho set for first Dortmund reunion
Jadon Sancho will come across Borussia Dortmund for the first time since leaving the German club to join Manchester United in 2021.
Our friendly in Las Vegas, which is being shown live on MUTV (02:00 BST, Monday), presents an excellent opportunity for the 23-year-old to show his skills against the Bundesliga outfit, who could hand a debut to Marcel Sabitzer.
Sancho racked up outstanding stats during his time with Dortmund, notching 50 goals and 64 assists in 137 matches for a free-flowing attacking side.
The club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke praised Sancho when completing the deal with United.
"Jadon has behaved fantastically," he said. "He has pushed us forward, also in the second leg of the season, and, accordingly, it is like this just now. So we are not happy about the money but we are rather sad that he is gone."
The England international left on good terms and posted on social media to express his gratitude, at the time.
"Dortmund will always be a part of me and I will always miss, love and be grateful to the club, the team and especially the supporters who supported me through thick and thin," he stated. "I hope you can respect my decision. The most beautiful part of friendship is to understand and to be understood."
The here and now for Sancho is about unleashing his full potential with the Reds, and Erik ten Hag perhaps has a new role in mind for the forward, as he finalises his tactical plan for 2023/24.
He has been utilised centrally, at times even as a 'false nine', and it will be interesting to see which position he fills when taking on his old employers.
"I think Jadon is the best in positions in central positions, where he can get involvements, and also when he played in wide areas," commented Ten Hag recently. “But, you know, when you're playing with me in the wide areas, in the right setting, you also have the freedom in the right setting.
"So it can be right to be inside in [number] 10 positions, in central positions, but also when you are in such positions, you have to make runs behind because that is very important to our way of play, that we have many players who run in behind.”
The brilliant strike in the friendly against Arsenal, our second goal in a 2-0 win, was a classic example of what the manager wants, with Sancho sprinting clear of the Gunners' defence when Gabriel made a mistake with his attempted clearance.
Our no.25 will be determined to increase his goal and assist output in 2023/24, in what promises to be a big season for him, and another good showing against the club where he matured into one of Europe's top talents should bolster his claims for a place in the line-up when the Reds' Premier League opener with Wolves comes around.