Manchester United are facing a crucial juncture over their plans for Jadon Sancho at the start of 2024.
The winger has not featured for United since their 3-2 Premier League win over Nottingham Forest on August 26 due to an ongoing disciplinary matter within the club.
Erik ten Hag has remained steadfast over whether he will bring Sancho back into the first team in 2024. The club hierarchy are expected to bring the impasse to an end during the January transfer window, one way or another, as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS begin to take control of United’s sporting operations.
With Sancho’s United future looking increasingly uncertain, the England international could move on in the mid-season market, as Ten Hag aims to draw a line the ongoing issue between the pair.
The prospect of a return to the Bundesliga may well appeal to the 23-year-old as he attempts to get his career back on track and potentially force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2024.
Will Jadon Sancho sign for Borussia Dortmund?
Reports in the UK and Germany have intensified in recent days and it is becoming more likely that Sancho returns to Borussia Dortmund this month.
The Bundesliga club are said to be keen to sign the player on a loan deal until the end of the season. Christian Falk of Sport Bild claimed on January 2 that the two clubs were close to finalising terms, with United to cover part of Sancho’s salary and Dortmund to pay a small loan fee.
True✅ The Talks between @BVB Dortmund and @ManUtd for a loan deal of Jadon Sancho are very concrete. the negotiations are nearing completion. Sancho is already expected in the BVB-training-camp this week. Dortmund pay a loan-fee, United pay a Part of his salary @BILD_Sport
— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) January 2, 2024
Sancho enjoyed a superb spell at Dortmund prior to joining United with 50 goals in 137 appearances, alongside winning the DFB-Pokal in 2021.
A loan until the end of the campaign could revive Sancho’s flagging career with Dortmund confident they can bring the best out of him once again.
Will Jadon Sancho go back to Man United?
If Sancho can get back up to full power by the end of the campaign, it will present United with a conundrum ahead of 2024/25, with Ten Hag’s own future under threat as United battle for a Champions League qualification spot.
Ten Hag appears unlikely to change his stance on Sancho, but with the former Ajax head coach under serious pressure at Old Trafford, there is a chance he will no longer be the United manager by the time Sancho returns from his loan at Dortmund.
Should Ten Hag stay, it seems likely Sancho will seek a permanent exit, but the arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe at the club is also a key factor: the British billionaire, who has become a minority shareholder in the club and is taking control of football operations, is reportedly unwilling to lose money on a player United paid £73m for in 2021.
Sancho’s contract at United runs until 2026, with the option for another year.
Why is Jadon Sancho not playing for Man United?
Sancho and Ten Hag fell out in September 2023 after the 23-year-old was omitted from the United squad for their 3-1 Premier League loss at Arsenal, and he has been frozen out of the squad since.
Ten Hag stated in his post-match press conference that his decision to drop Sancho was due to the player’s perceived lack of application in training. Sancho responded on social media, effectively accusing Ten Hag of lying, telling fans “not to believe everything you read” and saying he had been made a “scapegoat” by his manager.
Ten Hag made it clear that Sancho would not be considered for selection again unless he apologised. Although the player deleted his social media posts and was urged by some teammates to say sorry to the manager, he hasn’t done so. As a result, Sancho has effectively been banished from first-team activities and has been training with the youth team for several weeks.
Man United January transfer plans
Ten Hag opted for three loans in the January 2023 transfer window as Marcel Sabitzer, Wout Weghorst and Martin Dubravka arrived to cover injuries. Similar deals are likely to be pursued this month given United must be mindful of financial fair play rules.
The club have reportedly made efforts to tempt Saudi Pro League clubs to bid for Anthony Martial, Raphael Varane and Casemiro, although Ten Hag would prefer to keep the latter two until the end of the season. In either case, it is likely that teams from the lucrative league will limit big-money transfers to the summer window.
Due to concerns over his defence, Ten Hag could make a move for Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, with the French side owned by Ratcliffe’s INEOS group. However, any such deal would almost certainly depend on whether United can raise funds through player sales.
Goals are also an issue for the Red Devils, with just 22 scored in 20 games Premier League games, meaning United were the joint-third lowest scorers at the start of 2024.
Brentford could demand up to £100 million for Ivan Toney, with Arsenal and Chelsea also said to be interested, making that deal very difficult. The Athletic claimed Bundesliga trio Timo Werner, Serhou Guirassy and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have been added to a shortlist of inexpensive targets for United.