Forget Jadon Sancho - Flying Dutch teenager can be next Man Utd wing sensation
The Red Devils have been linked with a move for AZ Alkmaar youth sensation Jayden Addai.
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At a certain point, it doesn't matter who is left holding the jerry can and the book of matches, only that the bridge has been burnt. Where Erik ten Hag and Jadon Sancho are concerned, you suspect that causality is but a vanishing speck in the rearview mirror; we are far removed from the intricacies of the blame game, and are instead streaking, unbowed, through the bleak hinterlands of irreconcilable differences. It is not a pretty sight.
Barring a minor miracle, you suspect that Sancho's time as a Manchester United player is swiftly ebbing away. Already there is talk of Saudi Arabian interest, or of an unexpected return to former club Borussia Dortmund. Wherever he ends up, it has to be preferable to getting changed in a broom cupboard and eating his meals with a gaggle of academy prospects several years his junior.
Assuming the inevitable, United will, of course, require some kind of replacement for their £73 million blunder in the relatively near future. And that is where our attentions turn to Dutch sensation Jayden Addai.
According to an exclusive from Football Transfers, United are already keeping tabs on the teenager, despite the fact that he is still yet to make his senior bow for current club AZ Alkmaar. Born in 2005, Addai is making quite the impact for AZ's youth set-up, and has already registered 10 goals and four assists from out on the wing across 13 appearances in all competitions for the U19s so far this season. Those are the figures of a precocious talent ready to explode into the public consciousness.
Last term, the wide man helped his team to a UEFA Youth League title, influentially participating in an unlikely run that saw AZ knock out the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Sporting CP before they hammered Croatian outfit Hajduk Split 5-0 in the final. Addai scored the opener in that one, and at his current rate of progress, it is surely only a matter of time before he earns senior recognition. Indeed, AZ manager Pascal Jansen has already spoken publicly of his admiration for the prodigious star, telling De Telegraaf: 'Jayden is a great talent. He’s a good player, so I hope he shows up in 30-plus games in the KKD [Dutch youth league]. I hope that he can standout there.”
And standing out is exactly what he is doing - so much so that you would have to suggest United's scouting of him feels unusually astute. The Red Devils have made a habit in recent years of spending extravagantly on big names in the hope of securing short term results. Rarely has it worked for them.
By contrast, Addai appears to be a talent of near-ceaseless potential who is only just standing on the cusp of a hugely exciting career. If United were to firm up their interest and engineer a deal for him, he would join a roster of bright young wingers that already includes Alejandro Garnacho, Facundo Pellistri, and Amad Diallo. Given a year of faith and patience, there is no reason why any one of those couldn't become the Sancho alternative that is so obviously needed.
Of course, there are causes for hesitation; for one, Addai is unproven at a senior level, for another, he is under contract in the Netherlands until 2025. But in years to come, the unproven prospects of today will be the superstars of tomorrow, and few are showing as much promise as the Dutchman is right now. He might just be well worth the gamble.