Sportsmail’s Micah Richards has had his say on Manchester United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho in his latest column
Jadon Sancho continues to be linked with Manchester United and it is their ambition to sign him before the transfer window closes. I really hope they don’t.
Sancho to Old Trafford would be the headline-grabbing deal of the summer but it would also the most expensive. The finance involved in a deal of this nature would create enormous pressure for everyone, not least a 20-year-old who is far from developed.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Sancho is fabulous. I’ve followed his path since Joleon Lescott told me about a 15-year-old at Manchester City’s Academy who was ‘one of the best kids I have ever seen’ at that age. He’s bursting with promise and, one day, I can see him taking off.
If you put someone in the wrong environment at the wrong time, though, promise can flounder and I’m concerned that if Sancho was to join United now the effect could be detrimental. It’s as if United are chasing a status transfer rather than working to a proper plan.
Are they doing it just to make the fans happy? The one thing that confuses me now about United is that they seem to be buying players that nobody else is rumoured to be bidding for, such as Donny van Beek, and that is never a positive situation for a club to be in.
It never used to be this way. United signed superstars, United added cleverly to their squad each year and that allowed them to dominate but the landscape in Manchester began to change when City signed Carlos Tevez in 2009 and it has led United to where they are now.
United continue to be linked with Sancho but move may not be best thing for his development
Man United used to sign superstars but are now chasing a status transfer with Sancho
I will never forget the day Tevez joined City. Carlos wasn’t a lad who spoke much around the dressing room but, my God, when he was on the pitch he was unbelievable. In those first sessions with us, I was looking at him thinking ‘how have they let him go?’
Carlos carried us for a couple of seasons, as the Abu Dhabi venture began to take off. He was a genuine world class talent, a player who showed others of his level that City meant business and were serious destination.
He had his troubles and nobody has forgotten the moment Carlos refused to come on in a Champions League game against Bayern Munich and subsequently went back to Argentina on strike but, let me tell you, if he hadn’t have come back that season we wouldn’t have won the title in 2012.
Tevez’s influence was huge on so many things. If City target a player nowadays, they will pretty much get them. You hear about the interest but then the transaction is done and they carry on progressing. Can you really say the same about United?
Splashing out on Sancho, who is far from developed, would feel like a panic buy for United
It’s confusing to see United buy players no one is bidding for like Donny van de Beek
You might tell me City missed out to United for Robin van Persie, when he left Arsenal in 2012, but how often do United get the players that City really want now? The only one I can recall in recent times is Alexis Sanchez but that, to be diplomatic, didn’t work out for United.
This what worries me about the Sancho saga – United love the razzamatazz of big signing but think of all the times they have made massive investments in the last decade and it has not worked out for a player. I would hate it, for example, if Sancho found himself scrutinised like Paul Pogba.
Sancho made a big decision to leave City for Borussia Dortmund. He told the club, very respectfully, that if he wasn’t going to get starting chances then he wanted to explore his options elsewhere. It was a brave call to go to Germany.
Landscape in Manchester changed when Carlos Tevez jumped ship to join rivals City in 2009
United love razzmatazz of a big transfer but Paul Pogba is one of many it hasn’t worked out for
United were once the club to play for but Sancho is better off staying where he is
Each year he has progressed. One goal in his first season, 12 the next followed 17 last season. There were 16 assists, too. For those who love numbers, he is a footballer going places. If you are spending £100million, though, there has got to be more than promise.
Jadon is still learning. His style of play means he is finding it harder to shine in international football as the pace is slow – he’s so much better when everything is happening quickly and instinctively in games where teams aren’t camped on their own penalty area.
Also what happens to Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Antony Martial if United get this deal over the line? One of them would have to make way because no club spends £100m on a player to be on the bench.
Old Trafford was once the place to be for this kind of transfer but it’s not anymore. That’s why it’s my wish for Jadon Sancho to remain right where he is. He doesn’t need to be United’s latest big-money gamble.
Take the knee for kids
My respect for Les Ferdinand could not be higher. He is a man whose views should always be considered so when he spoke about taking the knee this week, his words carried weight.
He argued that taking the knee before football matches had lost its impact and we saw in some Carabao Cup ties that some teams had stopped doing it. Les claimed taking the knee has become tired, in the way ‘clap for carers’ did during the height of the pandemic.
I get what he is saying. Equally, I agree with him in the strongest possible terms that we need to keep taking action and riding our society of the scourge of racism. We are making progress but don’t kid yourself that it is going away. It’s still there.
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand believes the message of taking the knee has been lost
Taking a knee will help educate young kids and the next generation about racism in our society
That’s why I believe teams should continue to take the knee. The reason I feel this way is simple: it’s for the benefit of children. If a kid of five, six or seven is a watching a match with their parent or guardian, they will ask about its significance – and that is where education comes in.
Taking the knee is the benefit for people of my age or older. Do you think taking the knee will change a 50-year-old who has had racist views throughout their life? Not a chance. Taking the knee isn’t about today, it’s about tomorrow – it’s about having an impact on the next generation.
Kids are little sponges. If we can educate them now, society in the future will hopefully be more open, fair and inclusive. If we have the attitude that we should give up, if we stop taking the knee short-term then what hope do have in the long-term?
Moment of the week
Excitement turned to terror ahead of my Monday Night Football debut. I couldn’t wait to appear on the show with Jamie Carragher and checked in at Sky at 1:30pm to begin preparations. At 3:30pm, I went to get ready and wanted to get a shower.
Sky had put me, Carra and Dave Jones in the same dressing room but I know Carra is someone who loves a wind-up so when I went off, I locked the door. The last thing I wanted was to get out of the shower and find my suit had disappeared!
Locking the door, however, was the beginning of this story – 20 minutes later, Carra knocked and said he needed to get in. I turned the handle but nothing moved. My suspicions were that Carra had started some elaborate prank but nothing could have been further from the truth.
Richards (R) nearly missed presenting Monday Night Football after getting locked in a shower
The more I turned the handle, the less it budged. The clock was now ticking down to the show starting and, from being quite calm, my panic levels started rising dramatically. Security were called and even they couldn’t get me out, which led to talk of the fire brigade being called.
Eventually, at 4:55pm, the guys at Sky managed to prise a gap in the door and I was able to run on to set in the nick of time. I’ve got to say a big thank you to Carra, as he helped me massively in the opening clips. It might have looked smooth but you never know what happens off camera!