Jadon Sancho back at BVB – return campaigns an unsuccessful model

As of: January 3, 2024 12:18 p.m

According to media reports, Jadon Sancho is returning from Manchester United to Borussia Dortmund after two and a half years. Such attempts have been made several times at BVB, but they rarely worked.

Sebastian Hochrainer

Letting go doesn’t seem to be that easy at Borussia Dortmund. To let the past be the past and be happy with what once was. Those in charge of the club have been tempted several times to sign players who had already brought the club a lot of joy in previous times. But mostly there was the realization: you can’t turn back time. The attempts failed. And with Jadon Sancho there are many indications that it will happen again, rather than it being a winter coup for BVB.

Ten Hag sorted out Sancho

When the winger moved to Manchester United for 85 million euros in the summer of 2021, he was one of the best players in the Bundesliga. With his dribbling, he drove the opposing defenders to despair and wanted to continue his path to superstardom in his native England.

But nothing came of the big dreams, Sancho was never able to build on his Dortmund performance with the “Red Devils”. The low point: this season, Sancho was suspended by coach Erik ten Hag, and he played his last game to date at the end of August. The 23-year-old hasn’t even trained with the professionals for months.

Savior of a so far messed up national season?

BVB wants to help Sancho get back on his feet and hopes that their former top star will do the same with the team. Dortmund have had a first half of the season that revealed that the squad needs changes. There was a convincing progression in the Champions League, but also an exit from the DFB Cup, and in the league they are only fifth, 15 points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen. BVB can already tick off the title.

Sancho should at least save the season to the extent that the club does not miss the minimum goal of qualifying for the Champions League. But exactly this hope is nothing new in Dortmund. But Mario Götze, Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa also failed in their plan to start at BVB for a second time.

Götze failed at FC Bayern – and then also in Dortmund

Götze’s move to FC Bayern Munich for a fixed 37 million euros in 2013 was one of the most spectacular in recent Bundesliga history. But the then super talent had a difficult time with the record champions, and his goal for the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil was not beneficial for his everyday life at the club. In 2016 he finally went back to Dortmund – but although those in charge repeatedly assured that Götze, who had been struggling with health problems for a long time, would still get started, he was just a follower for four years.

BVB then decided to let Götze’s contract expire. “He is a very deserving player. It is also in his interest to look for new tasks – perhaps also abroad“, said the then sports director Michael Zorc. Götze then went to PSV Eindhoven, impressed again, returned to the Bundesliga to Eintracht Frankfurt and at least temporarily made a comeback to the national team. He is currently looking for his form again.

Cuddles for Kagawa were of no use

It was similar with Sahin (now assistant coach to coach Edin Terzic), whom BVB brought back from Real Madrid in 2014 after just one and a half years. And also at Kagawa (moved to Manchester United in 2012, brought back in 2014). Especially with the Japanese, club patron Hans-Joachim Watzke experienced the great danger of these return campaigns.

“We have to give Kagawa time. He was our tenth player in very successful years. It’s clear that that fires people’s imagination. But we won’t overload him with expectations. We have to give Kagawa time“said Watzke during Kagawa’s second term in Dortmund. The player has “nothing forgotten“, it be”just lost a bit of self-confidence“and you have to”now caress your soul“Because it didn’t work out so well at Manchester United. The same sentences could now also apply in the case of Sancho, for whom the expectations should not be lower.

Hummels as a positive example – but only partially

In Dortmund, however, they will be happy to hold on to the fact that the latest return campaign worked. Mats Hummels returned to the Ruhr area in 2019 after three years at Bayern Munich and has been one of the top performers ever since. But there is a big difference between the central defender and his predecessors Götze, Sahin and Kagawa and now Sancho.

Hummels had his problems at Bayern, but played regularly and had a big market, then decided to return to Dortmund. For the other players, however, BVB was or is more of a kind of safety net; they were or failed somewhere else and need this second chance. Watzke apparently wants to try this again – even if this model has so far been unsuccessful.