Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho has admitted that the first half of the season was ‘very difficult’ for him in the tumultuous few months since a failed Manchester United transfer saga.
United were keen to land Sancho and had been confident about doing so since the previous September. But the coronavirus pandemic saw the Old Trafford club no longer willing to pay over £100m for the player and Dortmund held firm at a €120m (£107m) valuation.
Sancho was keen on joining United – he still is – but stopped short of actively pushing for a transfer, meaning the impasse between the clubs over price was unbreakable.
Despite still registering assists every few Bundesliga games, Sancho failed to score for Dortmund himself in 11 league appearances prior to Christmas. For context, he had five goals to his name in his first 11 league games of last season and would finish on 17.
It is only now since the Christmas break that Sancho has finally got off the mark in the Bundesliga, scoring in consecutive wins over Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig.
Dortmund have changed coach since, sacking Lucien Favre on 13 December, and seem to have been given a fresh lease of life under interim boss Edin Terzic.
“Obviously this season has been very difficult for me personally,” Sancho told Bundesliga.com.
“So I knew when I went away, I just focused on my game and came back raring to go. I'm working hard every day in training and on the pitch so I'm just happy to get my goals and assists.”
90min revealed at the very start of this year that Manchester United had been undeterred by Sancho’s form, but are confident their inability to secure a deal last summer could actually mean they are able to buy him for less than £100m this year instead.
But United officials do not want a repeat of the failed saga of 2020 and are looking to engineer an early deal that could be signed off before the delayed European Championship kicks off in mid-June.