Manchester United have been warned not to heap too much pressure on Jadon Sancho when he joins the club.
The Red Devils are closing in on a club-record £90m deal to sign the Borussia Dortmund winger. Sancho will sign a five-year deal worth £220,000 a week and will take the club’s coveted No 7 shirt.
By taking the No 7, the England man will follow in a long line of stars to have worn the number.
The number was made famous at United by the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. And the club believe it can inspire Sancho to his best levels as well.
Sancho already wears the number seven jersey for Dortmund. He provided 17 goals and 16 assists in the Bundesliga this season.
However, United fans have been warned not to instantly expect the same return from Sancho.
There are also fears that he could also fall short in the jersey, in the same way that Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria did.
The warning comes from former star Gordon Hill, who was speaking to the Talk of the Devils podcast.
Hill, who played for United between 1975-1978, does, however, think Sancho has the talent.
“Jadon will come with a price tag, a level of expectation for him to live up to,” he said.
“In the past we have had Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay to name just two who have come in and were going to be the creative saviour for United on the wing.
“Time and time again we’ve seen players come in for big money and then not perform. It has generally come at some significant cost for that player to be moved on.
“I hope that won’t happen with Jadon but you will understand my apprehension. That’s not based on his talent, but the expectation that is already going to be put on his shoulders.
“He is clearly the player Ole wants, though. As as I said, he is being careful with his transfer policy – a big reason for us to feel confident.”
Solskjaer praised for United signings
Sancho will be the latest big-money signing of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reign. United signed Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire last summer. They then brought in Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo in January. All six signings have made their mark and Hill has been left impressed by their recruitment.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s task has been to take United back into the Champions League. That is the competition United have to be in.
“Every process has to begin somewhere. The end goal for United is to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the league, and to do that with a team that plays entertaining football.
“That process begins with showing strong enough consistency to qualify for the Champions League.
“They got over the line there, and hopefully this is the stage we build to move forward.
“The men at the top will allow Ole to have money, but we can trust in Ole that he will bring in players he needs and not just the attractive names who are up for sale.”
United getting the ‘right players’
“He is choosing his players to improve the squad in a deliberate manner. He is vetting the players. Just as we can place faith in him to choose the right ones, we can hope that the ones he has already signed can continue to kick on from promising first years.
“It’s been said that these differing expectations when we’re in this process means we’ve lost sight of what’s deemed a good season. It has never been like that at Old Trafford.
“I think Ole and the players should be applauded for an exceptional job in the mini-season. We can look at this time and say it looks more like United than it has for a long time.
“The football is looking better, the players now understand what the club is about and how high the standards are. Many of them are playing with confidence.”