Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United has been agreed, the club has announced.

Sancho will be looking to have a fantastic first season with United, a lot better than the one Donny van de Beek has just endured.

Van de Beek was United’s big summer addition a year ago and struggled to make an impact and establish himself in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred XI.

United should have confidence Van de Beek will kick on in 2021/22, and Jadon Sancho’s arrival can be a key reason why.

Manchester United v Granada CF - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Leg Two
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Signed with Sancho in mind

It is vital to remember that Van de Beek was signed by United as part of the puzzle. Sancho can help to complete the attacking picture.

United will have had a specific plan for Van de Beek with a game plan in mind, and while that did not come to the fore last season, Sancho can be the key to unlocking it.

Both players are technically smart footballers who can help each other to outfox defences.

 

Smart runner, smart creator

Van de Beek and Sancho should fit together really well. While at Ajax, Van de Beek managed more touches inside the penalty area than any other player.

One of the complaints about Van de Beek’s first season at United was that his teammates did not appear to be on the same wavelength as him. Often his runs were not picked out.

With Sancho’s arrival, this could change. The Borussia Dortmund winger excels in making successful cutting edge passes.

Data from FBRef.com shows Sancho completed more passes into the penalty area (82) than any player in the Bundesliga last season.

Sancho is strong at progressing the ball, making more dribbles into the final third than any player in the league. This buys time for teammates like Van de Beek to make runs, before he or a teammate provides the final pass.

This was all likely part of the tactical plan United had for the Dutchman when he signed in 2020. United had still hoped to close a deal for Sancho that same summer.

Van de Beek’s first season did not go to plan, but there is reason to believe the midfielder can play a big part at Old Trafford in the years ahead.

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