The hidden figures which make United target Jadon Sancho look even better

Statistics are a valuable tool in modern football, although many are of the opinion that they are overused.

Sports data analytics is now a booming industry in itself, with teams consulting firms on metrics like ‘Expected Goals’ to measure performance.

One of the divisive metrics in which performance can be analysed in is the ‘pre-assist’.

A ‘pre-assist’ is defined as the penultimate pass before the goal. In other words, the player who passes the ball to the player who provides the assist.

This can be useful in measuring the contribution of deeper lying midfield players for instance, who get involved with the build-up play but rarely venture into the final third.


It can also show how involved players are in their teams’ attacking play, beyond their typical goals and assist figures.

Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Sancho shining

Jadon Sancho’s record for Borussia Dortmund this season has been staggering. He scored 20 goals and provided 18 assists for the Bundesliga club.

Now figures from German magazine Kicker show that Sancho tops German football for ‘pre-assists’.

Sancho has 11 in total, ahead of teammate Julian Brandt on 10, Thiago Alcantara on 8, and Kai Havertz on 6.

If using pre-assists alone to try and judge a players’ value, then you will not learn much.

But add Sancho’s hidden goal contributions to the 38 goals he more directly impacted with goals and assists, and the Dortmund winger looks like an even more valuable player.

Pursuit is on

Every day there are conflicting claims over Sancho’s future and possible price tag. It is not too dissimilar to the Bruno Fernandes saga from January.

BBC Sport reported last week that United will not get a cut-price deal for the winger.

The Daily Star meanwhile claim United plan to make a ‘take it or leave it’ offer of £80 million for the winger.

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

We suspect eventually that United will be successful and sign Sancho, but there will have to be a compromise somewhere.

The total price tag will likely get closer to £100 million, whether that is up front or with add-ons.

All we ask is that United do not drag it out until the transfer deadline of October 5. For all involved, it would be sensible for a quick resolution.

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