Manchester United’s £73million move for Jadon Sancho has failed to reap immediate rewards, with Borussia Dortmund’s own summer signing enduring similar struggles
After a pursuit which spanned more than 12 months and three transfer windows, Jadon Sancho’s arrival at Manchester United felt like a seminal one.
At £73million, only two players in the club’s illustrious history have cost more, such is his prodigious talent.
Few could have anticipated then, that by the time the window closed, the England international would be completely overshadowed by another forward’s signing.
But there are very few, if any, players that can stand above Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to generating fervour and excitement.
And in their pair’s opening period at the club, it’s the Portuguese that has continued to put his name in lights with four goals in his first five games.
As for Sancho, he is yet to register a single goal or assist and found himself as an unused substitute during their most recent Premier League defeat to Old Trafford.
Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently slammed United bosses for their treatment of the forward, admitting his lack of minutes were “hurting his soul”.
“I love Jadon. When you see him playing you get tears in your eyes,” he told SPORT1. “It hurts my soul that he is given so little consideration. I think his problem is that he’s not set in the English national team.”
And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant he would have still signed Sancho, even if he knew Ronaldo was coming – actions speak louder than words at present.
Sancho has every right to be frustrated, as do his former side Borussia Dortmund.
After all, replacing 16 goals and 20 assists always promised to be a daunting task as they try again to reel in the all-conquering Bayern Munich.
In an attempt to plug the Jadon Sancho-sized gap in their attack, Dortmund paid PSV around £25m to land Dutch striker Donyell Malen.
Like Sancho, Malen was coming off a fine season for his former club, scoring 27 goals in all competitions.
But like the player he was tasked with replacing, he has endured his fair share of early season struggles, failing to be involved in any Dortmund goal.
German legend Lothar Matthaus took aim at Malen, suggesting he is offering his new side next to nothing.
“You can expect a little more from Donyell Malen. I am disappointed with him so far. In Gladbach he barely got past the opponents and didn’t move forward,” he wrote in his Sky column.
Such is his lack of impact, Matthäus thinks Dortmund could be out of the Bundesliga title race in a matter of weeks.
He continued: “Bayern are already four points ahead again and if Dortmund are not careful, there will be a few more in a few weeks and then hardly catching up.”
With the pair of transfers costing almost £100m, both clubs, and players, need it to work out quickly.