Not having been able to perform at his usual best in recent weeks, scoring two goals and contributing four assists in nine appearances across all competitions so far this campaign, England international Jadon Sancho’s underwhelming form for Borussia Dortmund so far this season has been labelled as a ‘crisis’ by the German press.
Sancho’s previous two campaigns in Germany saw him comfortably racking up 33 goals and 39 assists in 87 appearances, with that imperious form resulting in him becoming one of the most sought-after players in world football pegged at £108million.
Sancho was awkwardly sandwiched in the centre of a prolonged transfer tussle between Dortmund and Manchester United in the summer transfer window with Old Trafford ultimately unwilling to meet the Bundesliga club’s asking price to bring him back to the Premier League.
However the forward’s form at the start of this season has been nowhere near stellar and this has given cause for concern and, in the wake of another lackluster performance in Dortmund’s loss to title rivals Bayern Munich, the German press have not been coy to air their views.
BILD posted a piece on Monday night describing Sancho’s dip in form as a ‘crisis’, claiming further that Sancho is suffering an ‘unexpected performance gap’.
However, despite Sancho having not scored in the Bundesliga for 11 league games – going back to his hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Paderborn on May 31 –Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc is seemingly relaxed and unperturbed about Sancho’s form, telling BILD:
“Jadon has always shown consistent performance.
“If this has not been at the top level we are used to for three months, we have to admit that to a 20-year-old, I’m not worried about that.”
Data collected by BILD also shows that Sancho’s average speed of 32.7 km/h this season is 1.3km/h slower than last season, hinting he is missing some of his usual urgency. In his six Bundesliga matches this season, BILD have given Sancho a harsh ranking of 3.7 out of 10, claiming that Sancho’s dip in form could be linked to the amount of games he has been playing and that manager Lucien Favre will have to use ‘clever load control’ to get his star man back to top form.
BILD reporter Michael Makus claims Sancho has been playing as though he is in ‘farewell form’ amid the increasing links to his transfer away from Dortmund, with the same reporter also speculating that Sancho may be ‘deliberately letting himself down’ in frustration at Dortmund because the club allowed a potential move to United to collapse.
The whole of Europe watched as United desperately wrangled to bring Sancho to Old Trafford all summer but Dortmund stood firm, holding out for a substantial £108m fee. In the end all this came to no avail as Ed Woodward failed to stump up the required cash for Sancho with their highest offer reported to have been £92m.
Another German outlet, Ruhr 24, wrote that Sancho is ‘currently going through a form of depression’ and that the England international has gone from ‘high-flyer to problem child’ as Sancho’s off-pitch antics had gotten him in hot water with the England national team after he flouted coronavirus rules alongside team-mates Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham just days before the Three Lions took on Wales last month.
The silver lining in the clouds may yet be peeking through finally for both the player and United as earlier this month Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed there is a ‘limit’ on how long the Bundesliga side can resist the Red Devils’ pursuit.
“We could have made a big, valuable transfer in the summer, that’s well known. But we’re glad it didn’t come to this,” Watzke told BILD.
“Of course, we will also implement transfers again in the future, because Covid is clearly throwing us back. Even the biggest clubs are feeling the effects of the pandemic, be it Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
“At some point you come to the limit of what you can answer for. You can even see that in Munich right now with David Alaba as an example.”