Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has warned Jadon Sancho he must be mentally prepared to take on the challenge if he accepts the no.7 shirt at Old Trafford.
The England superstar is expected to join the Red Devils this summer with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side leading the chase for his signature.
The 20-year-old is keen to return to the Premier League and United are prepared to smash their club transfer record to sign him for around £120m.
United will also offer Sancho the coveted no.7 shirt and the club believe he can be the poster boy of Solskjaer’s revolution at the Theatre of Dreams.
Ferdinand agrees about Sancho’s talent but he’s warned the Dortmund star that talent alone is not enough, citing the example of Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele as a player who has failed to fulfil their potential.
‘[Ousmane] Dembele, who was at Dortmund before and went to Barcelona, was thought of very similarly, he went for massive money, but it’s not quite worked out at Barcelona, and that’s what I don’t want to see happen with Jadon,’ Ferdinand said on Instagram Live.
‘I want to see Jadon go a team where he’s going to play, for starters, and have a team and management staff who can help him improve and he can see a pathway to getting trophies.
‘The likes of Barcelona are interested in him but they are too heavily loaded. I think Man United is the place for him to go because I’m biased.
Asked if Sancho should wear United’s No.7 shirt, Ferdinand replied: ‘Of course. Has to.
‘If he’s going to wear the No.7 he has to be there for 10 years, that’s what that shirt deserves and demands.’
Much has been made of Sancho’s price tag and any move is likely to blitz the £89m that United paid for previous record holder Paul Pogba in 2016.
However, Ferdinand believes Sancho will prove value for money and is worth the ‘risk’ given the winger is at an early stage of his career.
‘I think Sancho goes for over £100 million, in today’s going rate, his potential, you’re buying someone for 10 years at your club,’ said Ferdinand.
‘It’s massive money but I’d take him, I’d risk it, I’d say ‘you’re the guy we’re going to build the team around’.
‘He’s got that X-factor, he’s got skills for days, that’s what people at stadiums want. Sancho is that guy.
‘I think he’s got all the potential to be a humongous superstar.’
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