Former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has tipped Borussia Dortmund winger, Jadon Sancho, to win the Ballon d’Or if he moves to Manchester United. The 20-year-old has been linked to United for well over a year now with suggestions of a move for the player this summer, although the coronavirus pandemic makes it difficult.
It has been reported that the Bundesliga club will be seeking £100 million or more for Sancho this summer, however, it has also been reported that United will not break their record transfer, £89 million, for the winger, seemingly leaving a stalemate, unless some of the reports have been far fetched, which is something you can believe from the media.
Many clubs have already been linked to Sancho this summer, with United and Chelsea the main ones reported, although both Real Madrid and Barcelona have been mentioned, although it is unknown if that interest is solid or not. It could certainly be an interesting summer, especially if United are going to launch a bid for the winger.
Hargreaves played for United from 2007, after signing from Bayern Munich for £17 million, leaving the club four years later after a severe knee injury which saw him play only 39 times for the club, scoring two goals – 34 appearances and the goals came in his first season, three in the second and one during each of the following two seasons.
Born in Canada to a Welsh mother and an English father, Hargreaves then signed for Manchester City, making four appearances during the 2011/12 season, ending his 12-year professional first team career and moving into media, currently working for BT Sport. It was on that medium that Hargreaves claimed United could help Sancho won the Ballon d’Or, saying:
“Jadon [Sancho] will know his own game and has to find what’s best for him. But United have an exceptionally good group of young players coming through – and any top young player would want to be part of that. Obviously, Liverpool and Manchester City have moved away from everyone else in the Premier League, but United would still be a team to join.
“Things go in cycles. Man United will be back and the recruitment of a player like Jadon would help. He knows Manchester well because he was at City, but whoever gets him will be very fortunate. I know Sancho is going to cost a lot of money, but you have a player who, potentially for the next decade, is going to be a unique player to watch.
“The game of football has become so structured and technical that a kid like him can bring his own style into the game and play with such creativity. It’s so hard to anticipate just what he’s going to do. Normally when you watch games of football, you know what is going to happen, whereas, with Jadon, he does things off the cuff almost like Neymar.
“That’s priceless because he can make things happen when teams sit deep. When there’s no space, Jadon finds space. I think that, like Wayne, put Jadon in the middle of whatever the league is in any country and he would thrive. I covered Dortmund’s game against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and Sancho was better than anyone on that pitch – even Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. His level is exceptional. He just thrives on creating and scoring goals.”
The last player to win the Ballon d’Or whilst playing for United was Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2008, a year after coming second to Kaka. It seems a long time since a United player has been that high profile, but if this transfer does actually happen, good things could be on the way at the Theatre of Dreams once again.
Before Ronaldo in 2008, David Beckham should have won the Ballon d’Or in 1999, coming second to Rivaldo, which in my opinion, saw the United right midfielder cheated of a certain victory. Prior to that, Eric Cantona came third in 1993 with the last winner being George Best in 1968, with Sir Bobby Charlton in second place.
Charlton won it in 1966 with Denis Law winning in 1964. Duncan Edwards, United’s greatest ever player, who died 21 days after the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, came joint third with Raymond Kopa in 1957 with Billy Wright of Wolverhampton Wanderers coming second to Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano.