Premier League English

Erik ten Hag having hidden agenda to suddenly get off his high horse vis-a-vis exiled star imbroglio?

It appears Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is now left either suffering from a sudden attack of conscience and reconsidering his previous scathing evaluation of exiled star Jason Sancho’s qualities and caliber due to the latter’s undeniable rise to prominence again in the Bundesliga, or the beleaguered Dutchman is possibly undergoing some pressure from without and has no options but to eat a huge slice of humble pie and humbly re-evaluate his opinions of the former Borussia Dortmund star under the intense public scrutiny of mega millions of football fans globally.

The latest news surrounding Old Trafford is that the already heavily beleaguered Ten Hag now seems to be having some serious second thoughts regarding Sancho as a player after having had a high-profile bust-up with the star now exiled to his former Bundesliga club earlier this season.

The Dutchman has now come forward with the highly unexpected and stunning revelation that representatives from the Manchester club have actually visited the exiled United star at Borussia Dortmund after Sancho was sent back to Dortmund on loan only a few months back after having gone four months without a game for United since he was shabby treatment at Old Trafford, after the winger’s bust-up with Ten Hag when the Red Devils boss publicly criticised his performances in training and dropped him from the team and left him in the cold.

However, the 23-capped England international seems to have happily rediscovered the scintillating form that excited Dortmund fans in Germany, helping the club reach the semi-finals of the Champions League with spectacular performances that have bewildered his Manchester United fans and detractors alike.

The exiled star was undeniably instrumental during Wednesday’s 1-0 win at home to a huffing-and-puffing Paris Saint-Germain selection in the first leg, marshaling an electric performance not seen throughout his two-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford.

Now, it appears that the curtains are not coming down on his United career yet, despite having been banned from the first-team dressing room and canteen prior to his loan move to Dortmund.

“We are visiting games,” Ten Hag, the other main perpetrator involved in the imbroglio, explained.

“We visited – I would not say all of the games – but we have seen more games from Dortmund where Jadon was performing.

“We also had a visit with him, we had a talk with him during his stay there and we will keep going with this process, we will continually be in contact and communicate. We have four important games in the league and then the FA Cup final, so we will see in the summer what’s going to happen.”

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the Red Devils’ Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, Ten Hag also uncharacteristically hailed the exiled star’s qualities and performances, despite having publicly disapproved of his caliber and character previously after the bust-up: “He played very well and he’s a very good player. Yesterday, he showed why Manchester United bought him and he showed he represents a high value for us, which is good. I’m happy for Jadon, for the performance yesterday and we’ll see what is going to happen in the future.”

Meanwhile, Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl – obviously one of those who had never doubted Sancho’s pedigree on and off the pitch – has confirmed that the Bundesliga side “will try everything” to sign Sancho on a permanent basis.

“His qualities don’t need to be described. He has regained his smile in the six months with us,” Kehl said after Saturday’s 5-1 win against Augsburg.

“We will try everything. But Manchester United also sees how well he is playing at the moment. Maybe they also want to sell him for profit. Or bring him back.”

It is definitely most comforting, and a great relief, to know that there are those who had never doubted the integrity of the exiled star both on and off the pitch all this while. And all it needed was just an opportunity for the once-disgraced and vilified star to prove his mettle beyond further doubt.

As to why the United manager’s opinions regarding the earlier disgraced United outcast have suddenly undergone such a dramatic U-turn is anybody’s guess. A sudden change of heart like that could likely be attributed even to external pressure within the Old Trafford establishment now being brought to bear on the Dutchman for his treatment of the prodigal son who is now suddenly glowing anew under the spotlight again in his former club in the Bundesliga where he had always been treated as someone invaluable to the club. Someone who had always been deeply appreciated for his invaluable contributions on the pitch as a player with immense talent and proven skills.

In trying to understand the raison d’etre for this sudden turnaround in Ten Hag’s attitude, the spotlight is suddenly shining brighter and clearer the two main characters protagonized on this spectacular football stage that has now gotten much more prominent due to its Champions League reverberations.

Sancho was forced to return to his former club on loan and suddenly found the foothold to relaunch himself on the grandest European stage, the Champions League, where he waltzed his way back to football stardom in playing a leading, key role in helping the Bundesliga club secure a crucial win against a Paris Saint-Germain side that boasted none less than the formidable Kylian Mbappe up front. However, it was the exiled former Man United player who stole the limelight.

Now, consider the awkward dilemma that Sancho’s sudden re-emergence in the Champions League spotlight as a hero for Borussia Dortmund as a loanee would throw his former United boss into, especially after the Dutchman’s United selection were so easily, and so quickly bundled, out of contention in the same tournament, losing to even winnows like Galatasaray. This huge humiliation would have rankled deeply inside the United boss, after having thrown his former star under the bus. And now for him to be so gracious publicly and hail the same star he had personally chosen to exile and paid unhesitatingly disregarded his qualities and his professionalism certainly would cause anyone with a rational mind to think twice as to what has brought about such a radical transformation.

Unless – at a tangent to the speculation mooted earlier – this little shenanigan of the United boss suddenly publicly relenting and going ‘soft’ on the exiled star is a design plotted by the architects of power and control at the club to re-polish the image of the exiled player to jack up his market value in the sudden, hyet most timely, turnaround that has projected the disgraced United star into the limelight again like the proverbial phoenix rising out of the flames. albeit at his former club. Which would then make a lot of sense.

Whatever the reasons and cause provocateur, it is only fitting that Sancho has been able to exonerate himself on this elevated Champions League platform with his former Bundesliga outfit and teammates, where they have no reason whatsoever to doubt his abilities as a player and his character.

After all, home is where one is always accepted, trusted, respected, admired – and one’s integrity and honorable intentions never doubted, at the very least.

Kudos to you, Jadon!