Jadon Sancho is showing off just how difficult this summer will be for Liverpool. The Reds reportedly like the player.
Last summer ended with Manchester United not signing Jadon Sancho. That was unquestionably the biggest story as they rejected meeting Borussia Dortmund’s £108m price (per the Guardian).
Immediately, the Independent claimed that Liverpool could now move for Sancho in 2021. And why wouldn’t they?
Liverpool need new attackers, after all. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will all be 30 within two years. Replacing all at once would be a nightmare, so the Reds need to start soon.
Sancho, clearly, is a top option to lead a new era at Liverpool. He’s 20 but has 29 goals and 30 assists over the previous two seasons.
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He looks like a sensational prospect on Liverpool’s wing if you just completely ignore this season. But you can’t do that, can you?
Sancho has zero goals and just three assists in 11 Bundesliga games this campaign. That’s not good and nowhere near £108m in value.
And this highlights Liverpool’s difficult task over the summer.
Replacing such a successful attack necessitates certain quality. Liverpool are on top of the world and staying there will take elite talent.
And the best investment with elite talent is buying young. Like with Sancho.
But Sancho is not as good as Salah or Mane. You’re paying for what he could be, as much as what he is. You’re paying because you think you can turn him into one of the world’s best players.
This season, though, is a reminder that Sancho needs work. He’s not a guaranteed thing – how can he be at 20?
Thus there is a chance that he never actually becomes the £108m player. Just look at Manchester United for an example. Paul Pogba cost a world-record fee, primarily for what he could become one day.
And he plainly has not become that.
If Liverpool want their best shot at replacing their front-three, they need to sign the players most likely to become world-class. But in doing so, you risk spending a lot of money on a player who never returns on the investment.
None of Firmino, Mane or Salah were supposed to be elite forwards who compete for the game’s biggest honours but Liverpool got them there. And that shows the other side of this.
Sancho is one of the best chances at a truly elite player but he’s not a necessity to get one. Liverpool consistently proved that with their current front-three.
Is that enough to turn them away from players like Sancho? We just don’t know. The temptation of seeing what Jurgen Klopp can do with a player like that is very strong.
But as Diogo Jota looks set to become yet another surprisingly elite player, Liverpool must wonder if they have to spend the big amounts.
Getting this right is imperative to another successful era but there is no easy answer. It’s an incredibly tough one, in fact, and Liverpool will have to bet on themselves to get it right.
Perhaps Sancho is that player but right now as he struggles in Germany, you can see the doubts already.