Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted he holds no regrets over Jadon Sancho’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, claiming the youngster’s departure was beyond his control.
Sancho, who left the Etihad as a 17-year-old with first-team opportunities in Manchester looking slim, has excelled in unfamiliar surroundings abroad, becoming one of the most sought-after talents in world football.
Following Friday’s Champions League draw in Nyon, he will now face City for the first time since leaving the club on April 6, with the English league leaders having been pitted against the talented German side in the quarter-finals.
Reflecting on this landmark moment, Guardiola offered his own perspective on how and why Sancho, such a precocious talent, was allowed to leave the academy with his whole career ahead of him.
“I said many times, not a regret, he decides,” he told The Independent.
“He’s doing really well, congratulations, an exceptional player. A national team player with huge quality, doing really well in Dortmund.
“We want him to stay but he decides to leave, when they decide to leave all we can do is they leave. I wish him all the best except when he plays against us. If he’s happy, I’m happy.”
The Spaniard was reluctant to entertain the notion of ‘what might have been’ had he stayed, claiming it’s impossible to predict and visualise such scenarios.
“Nobody knows, maybe he stays and we don’t play good or better. The life of every person decides the life they lead, the other people have to respect,” he said.
“We want him, he decides to go, all the best. We will face him, try to control him. We know the quality he has, everyone knows.”
Dortmund have endured a difficult season in the Bundesliga, with former head coach Lucien Favre given his marching orders in December following a turgid run of form.
They lie in fifth place, with Champions League football next season in serious doubt. Sancho, who missed out on the latest England squad through injury, has not quite hit the heights he attained last season, when he managed 17 goals and 17 assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances.
Nevertheless, Guardiola is very much aware of the quality both he and his teammates possess and will look to eliminate any potential complacency from a side that is running away with the Premier league title.
He said: “The individual quality in Dortmund is from all departments, a strong team. In the Champions League always has done well many many years. We have to prepare well.”