How Arsenal tried to sign Jadon Sancho before he moved to Borussia Dortmund

Stefan Bienkowski
How Arsenal tried to sign Jadon Sancho before he moved to Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal’s former head of youth recruitment, Steve Morrow, has revealed that the club came close to signing Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham before they joined Borussia Dortmund. 

Sancho made the move to the German Bundesliga in 2017 after leaving Manchester City’s youth academy in a deal believed to cost around £8 million. 

At just 17 years of age, the English forward quickly adapted to life at Dortmund and quickly became one of their most important players. 

The German giants repeated the trick last summer when they beat a host of English clubs to the signing of Bellingham, who made the move to Germany from Birmingham City for a fee reported to be in the region of £25 million. 

Although Bellingham has had to bide his time in the Dortmund first team with irregular starts and substitute appearances, the midfielder’s talent and potential are beyond doubt. 

Jadon Sancho’s record since joining Borussia Dortmund

Games130
Goals 46
Assists60

Arsenal targeted Sancho and Bellingham

As such, both players are undoubtedly two of the most sought after talents in European football. And they could have quite easily ended up playing for Arsenal, according to Morrow. 

“Every top club will say there were near misses,” Morrow stated in an interview with Goal.

“Jadon Sancho was certainly one of those. We missed out on him once when he moved from Watford and went up to Manchester City, and then again when he reached that age at City when young players have a choice to make.

“Jadon felt that his future was away from Manchester and we were very, very close to signing him, but the family felt at the time that the best opportunity for him was at Dortmund and off he went.”

Morrow adds: “There have been others. Jude Bellingham was another one that was very similar to that.

“When he came to the end of his contract at Birmingham and was debating whether to stay there and sign a scholarship or move somewhere else, we were very close to that one as well.

“But sometimes it just doesn’t happen and you have to accept it.”