In an interview with Goal.com, former Arsenal head of youth recruitment Steve Morrow has revealed that the Gunners were very close to signing Jadon Sancho before he joined Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017.
The Gunners have missed out on several big-name players over the years. Their failure to sign the likes of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to be talked about.
Morrow has now disclosed that the Gunners failed to pursue Sancho on two separate occasions. The club initially tried to sign him in 2015 when he was an academy graduate at Watford, but he joined Manchester City.
After a couple of years, Sancho decided to pursue a fresh challenge in the bid to secure regular first-team football. The Gunners were on the cusp of finding an agreement with the attacker before deciding that Dortmund would be ideal for his development.
Morrow said: “Jadon Sancho was certainly one of those. We missed out on him once when he moved from Watford and went up to Manchester City, and then again when he reached that age at City when young players have a choice to make.”
“Jadon felt that his future was away from Manchester, and we were very, very close to signing him, but the family felt at the time that the best opportunity for him was at Dortmund and off he went.”
Over the past three-and-a-half seasons, Sancho has progressed into one of Europe’s best young wingers, registering 46 goals and 60 assists from 130 games for Dortmund.
The Gunners had the chance to sign him for a compensation fee of £8 million in 2017, but he was lured to Dortmund who were willing to pick emerging players in their line-up.
At the same point of time, former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger relied on experienced players in the squad, and youngsters hardly got the chance in the league.
The trend has changed over the past few years, and the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are now regarded as an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s plans.
Sancho has been linked with a return to England this summer, and the Gunners are definitely not one of the teams interested in him.
Manchester United and Chelsea are known to be among the admirers, and it is reported that they could prise him away from Dortmund for around £88m.
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