Jadon Sancho, a 19-year-old compared to Neymar, is now worth far more than the declining Paris Saint-Germain super forward
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- Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for just $9.7 million - today he is valued at $222 million.
- The 19-year-old set the Bundesliga alight last season, scoring 12 goals and assisting 14 as Dortmund finished second behind Bayern Munich.
- "He is quick, technically gifted, and he can score goals himself as well as lay them on for his teammates. He really is the complete player." teammate Axel Witsel told reporters earlier this year.
- Sancho just signed a new contract with Dortmund worth a reported $230,000-a-week, making him one of German football's highest-paid players.
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"He didn't want to take this challenge," a deflated Pep Guardiola told reporters earlier this year when asked if Jadon Sancho, 19, would have excelled at Manchester City the way he has done at Borussia Dortmund.
"He did incredibly well this season. What would have happened this season [if he were at City]? I don't know."
Guardiola said he didn't know, but the inflection in his voice and the anguish on his face suggested otherwise.
Sancho left City in August 2017 after failing to agree a new contract with the Premier League champion, with the then 17-year-old wanting a guarantee of regular soccer - something Guardiola was unable to offer him.
City did its best to convince him to stay - Sancho was offered a $36,000 per week deal, one of the most lucrative deals ever given to a player of that age in England - but it wasn't enough.
The pull of more match time elsewhere outweighed a hefty wage packet in Sancho's eyes, and so he left for Germany, where he became one of the most valuable soccer players on the planet.
The ambitious teenager had to wait for his chance to impress in black and yellow.
It wasn't until October when he was given his first team debut, entering the field as a late substitute in a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.
He then had to wait even longer for his first goal, which didn't come until April, 2018 in a 4-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen.
His debut campaign was a slow burner but Sancho was happy with his progression, convinced he could make an impact at the club as more opportunities came his way.
"I haven't hit my peak," Sancho told Dortmund's official YouTube channel towards the end of the 2017-2018 season. "When I've hit my peak, then that's when I've arrived."
In his second season at the Signal Iduna Park, Sancho arrived like a freight train running late with a shipment.
Sancho had a habit of making the Bundesliga's most revered defenders look like beer league novices, contributing 12 goals and 14 assists in the Bundesliga, as Dortmund pushed eventual champion Bayern Munich to a knife-edge title race, finishing second by only two points.
That return of 14 assists made Sancho the Bundesliga's top provider for the season, second-best across Europe's top five leagues to Eden Hazard.
Sancho's performances throughout the year earned him his first England national team call-up in October 2018, and a place in the Bundesliga Team of the Season.
Now he just keeps getting better
It is just two games into the 2019-2020 season and the 19-year-old has already played a starring role against the historic German powerhouse Bayern Munich.
In the 2-0 German Super Cup win over Bayern earlier this month, Sancho provided an intuitive pass for Paco Alcacer to open the scoring, before adding a late second himself to ensure Dortmund scooped its first piece of silverware for more than two years.
Defenders were scared when he was on the ball.
And on the opening day of the Bundesliga season, he again provided a goal and an assist as Lucien Favre's side dispatched FC Augsburg 5-1.
"Jadon is a serious talent," Dortmund team-mate Axel Witsel told reporters recently, according to Bundesliga.com.
"Even the Bayern defenders were scared when he was on the ball, but there's nothing new there because he just has so much quality.
"He is quick, technically gifted, and he can score goals himself as well as lay them on for his teammates. He really is the complete player."
Sancho's blistering start to the season has already earned the England international a new contract at Dortmund, which will reportedly see him earn $230,000-a-week, making him one of the best paid players in Germany.
Sancho is now priced as one of the most valuable players in world football, with a wage to match his skyrocketting valuation in the transfer market.
Sancho is worth $222 million
CIES Football Observatory, a statistical research group based in Switzerland, says Sancho has an upper bracket market worth of $222 million - that's far more than Neymar, a player he has oft been compared to in the past, who has declined from a $200 million+ player, to $133 million today, according to CIES.
Here's what all this means:
- Sancho is one of the most highly valued players in world soccer.
- Sancho is worth more than new Bayern signing Philippe Coutinho.
- He is also worth more than Barcelona star recruit Antoine Griezmann.
- Manchester City, the team Sancho left two years ago, has an abundance of wealth in attack.
- But Sancho is worth more than five of City's six attacking options.
- Sancho has grown beyond what even City and Guardiola could have predicted.
- He has done so without Guardiola.
Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Aguero, and Bernardo Silva are all less valuable than Sancho, CIES says, with only Raheem Sterling, who is priced at an amazing $277 million, bucking that trend.
Sold for only $9.7 million by Manchester City two years ago, Sancho is now one of soccer's most sought after, and expensive assets. So valuable, even City with its vast wealth would struggle to afford the forward, should it want to bring its former star back.
And all City can do is watch from the sidelines as its former son shines bright, with his next match on Friday when Dortmund travels to FC Koln in the Bundesliga.
Of all the players Dortmund has at its disposal, history, form, and data suggests it will be Sancho who affects the scoreline, provides the assists, and scores the goals that could win this game, and many beyond.
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