xGOLD: 3 alternatives to Jadon Sancho for United to consider

xGOLD: 3 alternatives to Jadon Sancho for United to consider

The methodology

  • Manchester United have been told that Jadon Sancho isn't for sale - but the profile of Sancho is still what they are looking for in this window
  • We ran our unique xGOLD tool
  • xGOLD told us the best metrical matches for Sancho from the preferred markets and leagues
  • Our team of experienced analysts sanity checked the initial matches, ruling out any players that do not meet the exact requirements

Below, you will find an explanation of Sancho's profile and the players that meet the expected profile, generated by our unique xGOLD tool.

The shortlist

#3 Gio Reyna - Borussia Dortmund

17-year-old American wide player who is currently contracted to Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga. Reyna can play in a variety of attacking positions. He is right-footed and can play wide on the right as an orthodox wide player or on the left as an inside-forward with licence to come infield. He can also, however, play as a traditional 10. As his career progresses and as he picks up more experience at first-team level he could also make the same transition that his teammate Julian Brandt has to play inside as an 8.

He is listed as 183cm on transfermarkt and has the pace to create separation from opposition defenders as well as the ability to carry the ball at pace when in possession. He can beat defensive players in 1v1 situations or look to link the play in the final third. His final ball is dangerous but he needs more development in order to understand when to hold possession and when to release the ball and link with others.

Given that Reyna is just 17-years-old his potential to grow is huge. He can go on to be a top 10 player in world football if his choices at this stage of his career are correct.

#2 Josip Brekalo - Wolfsburg

A 22-year-old wide attacker who is currently contracted to Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga. Brekalo is predominantly played on the left of the attack and as he is right-footed he displays a clear tendency to cut inside when in possession of the ball. He could also, however, play on the right of the attack equally comfortably. He has also played as a 10 in recent matches.

Brekalo is a player who likes to carry the ball in the attacking phase. He displayed a clear tendency to cut inside in possession before looking to create an angle and shoot at goal. This has developed slightly across the second half of last season and Brekalo is showing signs of becoming a more nuanced player. He still likes to play inside and his quick feet mean that he can manipulate the ball well in tight areas but he is also starting to recognise more when to link play.

As Brekalo continues to develop we would suggest that he will become a more active player in terms of goal contribution for his team. He has the capacity to shoot from range when moving at pace but as he adds a greater understanding of how and when to access the penalty area this should see the player take the next step in terms of his career and exposure.

#1 Jens Petter Hauge - Bodo / Glimt

20-year-old Norwegian wide player who was days away from completing a move to the Belgian side Cercle Brugge before pulling out of the deal when it became apparent that there would be better options for him. A right-footed attacker Hauge can play on the right or the left. He is explosive and powerful and carries the ball well when isolated against opposition defenders. 

What really stands out about Hauge is his composure and balance in the final third. He is extremely difficult to knock off the ball and he displays the ability to move past defenders before finishing in a variety of manners. He has the power to shoot from range and the touch to lift the ball over the goalkeeper or find the corner of the net when approaching the goal from an angle. Hauge has now been capped at international level and there is likely to be significant interest in the player.

His next step is key. A move to a top 5 league looks likely and he could represent a genuine bargain in a market that appears slow for players of this profile and type.


The three players identified by xGOLD are interesting options if Manchester United were to look elsewhere given that Dortmund are reluctant to sell Jadon Sancho.

These players were found using the xGOLD system and then sanity-checked by our team of experienced analysts to make sure that what the metrics told us equalled what we could see on the pitch ourselves - the perfect blend of cutting edge data analysis and traditional scouting methods.

For more information on how xGOLD could add value to your scouting methodology, feel free to contact chris@totalfootballanalysis.com to arrange a call.

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