Chelsea are planning to launch an £80million bid for Jadon Sancho this summer, according to reports, and have a key advantage over any of their potential rivals for his signature.
Sancho is regarded as one of the best young talents in Europe and has been a long-time target for Manchester United.
The prospect of the former Man City starlet signing for the Red Devils dominated much of the 2020 summer transfer window but in the end the club were not willing to match Dortmund’s demands for almost £120million.
The fee required to secure his services is likely to be less this year, though, considering the financial climate clubs find themselves in due to the Coronavirus pandemic and because he will have a year less on his contract, with his current deal coming to an end in 2023.
And The Sun claims Chelsea are ready to make an £80million offer for Sancho as they look to add him to their roster of talented youngsters secured from Germany in the last 12 months.
Sancho had a slow start to this season but has scored 14 goals in 19 games in all competitions for Dortmund since the turn of the year, despite missing seven weeks through injury.
Thomas Tuchel is said to be a huge fan of the Londoner and the club may try to sign him before Euro 2020, with Dortmund hoping a successful tournament will push his price tag even higher.
Chelsea do have an advantage over the likes of United when it comes to Sancho though, as the winger is a boyhood Blues fan.
“Ronaldinho was the main guy I used to watch on YouTube,” Sancho told the Independent during an interview in 2019.
“But I liked Frank Lampard quite a lot and Didier Drogba when they were playing for Chelsea. They were the three players I looked up to.”
Sancho grew up in south east London and was part of the same Southwark under-11 team as Arsenal ’s Reiss Nelson and Leeds United’s Ian Poveda.
But it was in the academy of Watford where Sancho really made his name.
Signed by the club as a nine-year-old, Sancho moved into a boarding school in Year 7, with the club paying for their young players to have their education and training at the Harefield Academy.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the youngster, as the Hornets threatened to release him in Year 8 due to his poor attitude and behaviour.
Sancho described it as a wake-up call and his performances soon attracted the interest of Man City and he signed for the club in 2015 for a fee reportedly in the region of £150,000.
But City did not promote Sancho as quickly as he wanted and in 2017, at the age of 17, he decided to sign for Borussia Dortmund in a deal believed to be worth around £8million.
Sancho was given his chance almost immediately and has gone on to establish himself as one of the best wingers in world football, scoring 50 goals and creating 65 assists in 136 games for Dortmund, despite only turning 21 in March.
The England international, who has 18 caps and three goals under Gareth Southgate, was asked about his future earlier this month.
“Will I leave the club? I don’t know about my future,” Sancho said.
“I am very happy here in Dortmund at the moment. I love the club, the fans and the team. They gave me my first professional start.”
This isn’t the first time that Chelsea have considered a move for Sancho though.
The Blues’ hierarchy were keen on signing the player once their transfer ban was lifted in January 2020 but the head coach at the time, Frank Lampard, reportedly did not believe the club needed to sign a marquee player in that position at that point.
“Chelsea, as we told you on the podcast, were very interested in signing the player in January,” journalist Duncan Castles told the Transfer Window podcast in April 2020.
“Frank Lampard did not think that was the right way to spend the club’s money and didn’t want to be associated with his first major transfer fee being for a player in a position that he’s already well covered for, so that didn’t happen.”