Donyell Malen: Jadon Sancho’s potential replacement at Dortmund?

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 21:35 BST 5 min read
Donyell Malen: Jadon Sancho’s potential replacement at Dortmund?

Borussia Dortmund are preparing for life after Jadon Sancho. They were able to retain the exciting English winger this summer despite the intense interest from Manchester United, but they are readying themselves for another approach in 2021.

Sancho seemed content to stay for another year in Germany, but the rumours have affected his form this year and United have clearly turned his head. In any event, Dortmund have identified PSV’s Donyell Malen as a potential replacement should Sancho get his move.

So what type of player is Malen and how would he fit Dortmund’s system?

Donyell Malen: Playing Style

Malen is a player blessed with intense pace and the ability to run directly at defenders. He does all of his best work in and around the area, whether that be in the right position to score himself or to commit defenders and create chances.

Data Powered by SCI Sports

Data Powered by SCI Sports

Based on data powered by SCI Sports, we can see that Malen can be categorised as a mobile striker. He has played the majority of his minutes for PSV this season through the middle. Sancho, meanwhile, is more of a wide playmaker. They have similar skillsets, but at the moment one doesn’t seem to be a direct replacement for the other.

Donyell Malen: Arsenal release

Despite impressing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after travelling on tour with the senior side in 2017, he was sold to PSV just a few weeks later, despite his enviable goalscoring record for the Gunners at youth level.

It hasn’t even been fully explained by the player exactly what happened, other than the fact that he was disappointed by the rejection and wanted to prove himself.

PSV were happy to give him that platform, though he has had to battle through injury in order to get there.


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  • Malen Injury History

    In the 2018/19 season Malen made just six starts (and a huge 25 sub appearances in the Eredivisie) but managed 10 goals and four assists, thrusting himself into the position of automatic starter. And in the first half of 19/20 he was in superb form, his five-goal haul against Vitesse in September gathering intriguing glances from across Europe.

    Minutes Played1388
    Shots P903.9
    On Target P901.9
    Dribbles P901.5
    Touches In Box P907.9

    Given that just eight days previously he had emerged from the bench in the Nations League to score on his international debut against Germany, the hype train was at its highest point yet.

    And then, in the December, he suffered a serious knee injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season. At the time, at least, this looked to have ended his chances of competing in Euro 2020.

    Covid has, of course, given him a reprieve on that front and he has made a full recovery this season.

    2020/21 statistics

    This season, Malen is absolutely back to doing what he does best in the Eredivisie. Granted, it should be caveated that this is a weaker competition. But you can only beat what is in front of you, and the 21-year-old is doing that with consistency.

    His stats both in the Europa League and Eredivisie combined make for interesting reading.

    Transfer fee?

    Malen is contracted to PSV until the summer of 2024 and Dutch sides have gotten better at extracting value for their talent in recent seasons, as noted with the deals for the likes of Frenkie De Jong, Matthijs De Light and Hirving Lozano.

    When Malen was on fire last winter a figure of £50m was mentioned and it would be no surprise to see PSV try to hold out for a number like that. Particularly if they know Dortmund have £100m+ coming in from the Sancho deal.

    But Dortmund don’t tend to pay money like that and would likely cite a depressed, post-covid market as a negotiating tactic.

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