Jadon Sancho could be converted into a different position if Manchester United persist with a tactical change Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been implementing, according to a report.
It has been a tough start to life as a Manchester United player for Sancho. After they pursued his transfer for over a year, they eventually signed him for around £73m. But the whole saga has not been worth the wait yet.
Sancho is yet to contribute a goal or assist from his first 13 appearances as a Man Utd player. Although he took time to get going for Borussia Dortmund last season before recapturing his form, it is a concern for his new employers.
There is a feeling that Sancho’s transition to Man Utd has been made harder by their subsequent signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. But there could yet be an additional factor that further prevents the England international – who was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the November international break – from hitting the ground running.
Solskjaer recently switched United’s formation to a 3-4-1-2. In such a system, there is no room for a natural winger.
With that in mind, The Athletic claim that United’s coaches are considering converting Sancho into a right wing-back.
It seems quite a drastic step for a player whose goal tallies reached double figures in each of his last three seasons with Dortmund. But at present, there is no role in which Sancho could function in the system United may be sticking with.
Furthermore, club chiefs are growing increasingly concerned about Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s attacking output. The former Crystal Palace man is the club’s current first-choice right-back.
But he has always impressed more defensively than going forwards. Pushed further forward in the new setup, those concerns will only become more prominent.
Coincidentally, reports as far back as June suggested Wan-Bissaka could become a centre-back in a back three. It would leave United with a dilemma over how to fill the wing-back spot, despite the presence of Diogo Dalot.
While Sancho seems too attacking as the solution, a lack of alternatives to fit him in the team may force them into such a decision. Therefore, the coaching staff have supposedly already been working with him on how to adapt.
Solskjaer would mainly use Sancho in that position against teams that would be sitting deep. For those who play more on the frontfoot, Wan-Bissaka should retain his role.
The current international break will give Solskjaer the chance to reflect on many ideas after a difficult few weeks. It remains to be seen where Sancho will be playing when the action gets back underway and what impact any change may have on him.
Either way, Man Utd will show patience over their major investment, who is under contract until 2026.
Sancho told to regret Man Utd move
For a transfer that was a long time in the making, Sancho’s spell so far has been disappointing for all concerned.
Over in Germany, he had built up a big reputation and consequently drew interest from a number of clubs.
Staying at Dortmund would also have been a solution seemingly favourable to what he is currently going through.
One pundit, who used to play for Manchester City, has recently suggested that Sancho should be regretting his transfer.
Danny Mills told Football Insider: “Without a doubt, he’ll have to question it. ‘Did I make the right decision?’
“‘What was I told about signing for Man United and has that materialised?’
“The answer has to be no, at the moment, it certainly hasn’t.
“I think he’ll be very disappointed with the way things have gone. It’s similar to Donny van de Beek.
“They both came and would have expected to play and be involved in quite a lot of football. But it hasn’t happened.”
Sancho is yet to complete 90 minutes in a Premier League game since his return to his native country.