20 Jan 2022 | 02:40 | Football
Arsenal’s best African players
Jadon Sancho was once again sidelined by Ralf Rangnick for Brentford, in a game where the £73m Manchester United signing seemed to have a chance to prove he could repeat his form at Borussia Dortmund. But looking at United’s other Big Six opponents, Sancho’s situation is not an isolated one.
Sancho was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top transfer target for 18 months before United finally bought him last summer. The 21-year-old has only scored two goals and failed to provide an assist in 23 appearances for United, 14 of which were in the starting lineup. Both of Sancho’s goals came under the brief stint of Michael Carrick, who was temporarily in charge of the club before Ralf Rangnick arrived. But the English winger has yet to prove to the German strategist that he deserves to start.
Teenager Anthony Elanga was selected to start on the left wing in the 3-1 win over Brentford, the 19-year-old opened the scoring for the match and is unlikely to be eliminated next time. Rangnick admitted Sancho is struggling: ” I think because it’s a different tournament, it’s a different competition. More physical demands, more pressure, even though he also played for one of the tournaments. Germany’s biggest club, Dortmund.”
Sancho is not the only £70m player in trouble in the Premier League . Chelsea have faced similar problems with Kai Havertz, the signing from Bayer Leverkusen, who was due for a hefty £72m in September 2020.
The young German arrived at Stamford Bridge with high hopes after being pursued by Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, but he scored just four goals in 22 appearances in his first season in England. Havertz has been plagued by injury and Covid-19. But the striker has made a full recovery and is yet to find a place in Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system after Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for £97.5m in the summer.
Havertz’s peak in London came in May 2021 when he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final to win the club’s second European title. But those moments were too far away for the Germany international. Like Sancho, he is still adjusting to life in the UK and at 22, Kai has a career ahead of him.
Nicolas Pepe scored 22 goals in a single Ligue 1 season for Lille before moving to Arsenal for £72m in 2019, when they beat a number of clubs like Napoli and Bayern Munich to sign him. However, since moving to the Emirates Stadium, the Ivory Coast international has only scored 15 goals in two and a half seasons – and the winger is rarely trusted by Mikel Arteta in the starting XI. The 26-year-old looks certain to leave North London in the summer and the Gunners will have to accept huge losses, currently valued at just £27m by Transfermarkt by Pepe.
These 3 expensive deals including 3 young players can be a warning for managers to think twice before spending money in the future.