JADON SANCHO has gone from having the world at his feet – to having itchy feet.
This time last year, Borussia Dortmund were desperate to showcase the winger.
His emergence as a key part of Lucien Favre’s squad was used as a stick with which they could beat Manchester City.
Dortmund had provided Sancho with the stage for his talents.
He had taken the opportunity and flowered under the spotlight.
The outcome saw Sancho make himself a key part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad as well.
But while Southgate is still a fan, Dortmund are not.
Last month, the winger was dropped and fined for reporting late back from international duty, missing the crunch game with Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Then Sancho felt he had been made the scapegoat for Dortmund’s Bundesliga thumping by Bayern Munich.
And when a general critique of the manager and squad by chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke was reshaped by the German media as a clear assassination of Sancho’s character and performances, the ties that bind him to the club became even looser.
Yet Sancho is unruffled by the changing reality.
Yes, he is a little hacked off by life at Dortmund.
More than a little hacked off, in truth.
But when every other major club in Europe would take you at the drop of a hat, you can afford to be.
The issue for Sancho, even at this relatively early stage if his career, is one of where he wants to play his football next.
Does he want to return to England, where he would be paid more than anywhere else but might face a tougher battle to get the minutes he can guarantee at Dortmund?
Does he follow the well-worn track from the Ruhr to Bavaria, a path taken in recent years by Robert Lewandowski, Mario Goetze and Mats Hummels among others, and give himself a nailed-on spell of trophy-winning at Bayern Munich?
Or does he look elsewhere, Spain maybe?
A place where he could continue both his footballing development and education so that he becomes an even more valuable commodity further down the line.
As “problems” go, they are great ones to have, even for a player at his peak.
Yet Sancho is, in many ways, still a boy. He does not turn 20 until March.
His promise is unquestioned and Southgate fancies him.
The third starting place at Euro 2020, probably beyond, looks as if it will be one from Sancho, Marcus Rashford or Callum Hudson-Odoi. With Tammy Abraham the Kane back-up.
Playing in the Prem would allow him to give Southgate weekly reminders of what he possesses.
It is hard, at this stage, to see him going back to City – after all, he left the Etihad because he did not believe there was a pathway to the first team, with Phil Foden’s frustrations underlining the wisdom of that decision.
But Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool would surely all take him tomorrow. And offer the sort of pay-packet that will set him up for life before his 21st birthday.
Short-term pain at Dortmund will matter little once Sancho experiences that long-term gain.
It is a matter of where and when, not if.
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Dortmund may resist, initially. They do not want to be forced sellers.
But the realities of football suggest that the end-game is about the start, with an inevitable finish.
It will then be down to Sancho and he alone. Where does he want to play? Only he can answer that question.
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