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The Beef is Real: Jadon Sancho and Manchester City

With Jadon Sancho seemingly on the verge of signing for Manchester United, we looked back at the ...

The Beef is Real: Jadon Sancho...

The Beef is Real: Jadon Sancho and Manchester City

With Jadon Sancho seemingly on the verge of signing for Manchester United, we looked back at the young Englishman's time at United's cross-town rivals.

In the latest installment of 'The Beef is Real', Eoin Sheahan outlined the key moments in Sancho's relationship with Manchester City.

How did Sancho go from one of City's great new hopes for the future one year, to then leaving the club the next?

So, let's start at the start.

"He [Sancho] single-handedly dismantled the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea on his own playing in a poor team," is what one Manchester City scout was quoted in Der Spiegel as saying back at the 2011 London Youth Games. Sancho was 11 and playing for Watford at this point.

It was clear, City simply had to sign this wunderkind and three years later, they made their move.

"The club made an offer of £50,000. By the time the negotiations ended, in February 2015, Watford had agreed to take £150,000 for the 14-year-old, plus half a million in bonuses if he made ten first-team appearances," Sheahan explained referencing Der Spiegel.

"In a leaked document, a letter to Sancho’s father, the club had already earmarked a salary and bonuses for the kid once he became a professional. Now, we should say that that the FA investigated this and found that no malpractice had occurred.

"But the point is this, Sancho was 14 years of age and City were already all-in on his future."


All went well on the pitch in the early days at City and it wasn't long before Sancho caught the eye of Pep Guardiola.

In a documentary on Manchester City's YouTube channel, Sancho recalled his delight at being called up to train with the first team.

"I was with a couple of friends and I got a message. I clicked on it and it said you’ve been selected to train with the first team. I just couldn’t stop smiling, I called my Dad, called my Mum, called everyone," Sancho said.

"When I walked on the training pitch I was very nervous. Pep came out, he came over to me and then he put his arm around me.

"He was just giving me great advice. He’s seen what I can do and he wants me to improve on certain stuff."

There were, however, reports that Sancho had his issues during his time at the academy.

"Der Spiegel claimed that Phil Foden and Sancho got into an altercation with each other in the academy and had to be separated. He also often showed up late to training, got into trouble with teachers, and had to serve detention on a number of occasions," Sheahan explained.

Going back to June 2015, a law firm specialising in reputation management wrote that Sancho "gives an impression (which may not be the case) that he is self-important and reveling in his current (relative) fame." The law firm also suggested that he should make more of an effort to present himself as humble and hard-working.

Whatever your thoughts on a law firm offering a teenage footballer advice, it does at least indicate that all was not as perfect as it may have seemed.

On the pitch though, Sancho still appeared to be a massive part of Manchester City's future. In 2017, the club chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak name-checked him as one of the kids who was going to make the first-team.

But Guardiola was more cautious, saying Sancho and other youngsters may have to bide their time.

"Some will come to the United States on our [summer 2017] pre-season tour. They are 16, 17, or 18. The quality is there, but maybe not in the next year," he said.

Sancho was not brought on that tour and he was not willing to wait any longer to play first-team football. He refused to train and made it clear he wanted a move.

"It then became a bit of a bidding war for the player. City were reported to offer him improved terms to stay but Borussia Dortmund swooped in to pick him up in the summer of 2017," Sheahan explained.


When such a young player moves abroad there is always a chance that they might struggle and you'd imagine that is what City were hoping for. But Sancho has of course been an absolute sensation, scoring 30 goals so far in his Dortmund career.

In October 2018, the winger made his England debut. Shortly after that game, Guardiola was asked for his thoughts.

"We did absolutely everything and he decided to move to Germany, all the best. Hopefully, he can achieve what he was looking for, I'm glad he’s playing well," he said.


The City manager again offered his opinion on Sancho just last month when asked if a return was possible.

"He decided to leave, why would he decide to come back? We wanted him to stay like Eric Garcia and Phil Foden but he decided to leave," he said.

"He didn’t want to be here so that’s why I think he doesn’t want to come back."

However, it now very much looks like Sancho will be returning to Manchester but it will be to United not City. He will not be City's superstar of the future as it seemed when he first arrived but he may be United's, when the British record transfer fee is finally agreed.

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Jadon Sancho Man City Man Utd Manchester United Mufc Pep Guardiola Sancho