As Jadon Sancho turns 20, Paul Higham takes an in-depth look at the making of the Dortmund star and what could be his next move.
As the curtain comes down on his teenage years he is streets ahead of everyone bar Kylian Mbappe in terms of goal production (goals and assists) in the last decade or so. Mbappe, now aged just 21, scored way more goals than Sancho (41 to 27) but the Englishman's startling assists total (33) means he's contributed to just two fewer goals than the Frenchman had when he turned 20.
Mbappe, who is 18 months Sancho's senior, was sold to PSG for just over £160m as the second most expensive player in the world - with Sancho's numbers stacking up against the World Cup winner's and his trajectory charting straight up, his value must be well in the nine-figure market.
When the next transfer market eventually opens, Sancho's name will feature heavily, but it's that fee that could well be the decider - Dortmund only paid around £10m for him but they'll want the market rate and that will limit the amount of teams who could afford him.
So what will that £100-plus million get you?
Sancho the trailblazer
Sancho's role has a trailblazer for young players is already assured, it was regardless of what success he had after he spurned the Premier League riches of Manchester City to move to Germany, desperate to prove himself worthy of first team football.
Too often we see talented youngsters falling into a far too comfortable life as a Premier League reserve, and for all that the common thought is going out on loan to a lower league side will do them good, often it can push them the other way.
Talented dribblers like Sancho may not have been able to prove their worth in the cut throat world of the lower leagues, he'd have to sign for a team that plays the right way for him to develop as he has, so he must be applauded for moving to Germany in the first place.
It shows confidence, a confidence that is freely evident in the way he plays the game - and that all stems from being a 17-year-old kid, yet to play a senior game, who backed himself to make it to the big time and has duly delivered.
Sancho scored 20 in 35 youth team games for City after arriving from Watford, and was the Under-17 European Championship player of the tournament as England finished as runners-up - meaning that a £10m fee was coughed up by Dortmund. That now looks the bargain of all time.
A new Raheem Sterling? What the stats say
Sancho has bagged 27 goals and 37 assists in just 69 Bundesliga games for Dortmund, and for context that's more than double the tally Lionel Messi had before turning 20, and is almost twice as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo had scored at the same point in his career.
In terms of style of play though, he is more similar to an England team-mate of his.
A Londoner with quick feet, pace, but who has developed into a real goal scoring threat sound familiar? There is a striking similarity with the way Sancho and Sterling play, but also their development has followed a similar path.
Two things in particular stand out, and that is how both players have been released from playing just on one wing, and how in return that has led to a marked increase in goal output as they've been able to get closer in on goal and find the net more often.
In fact, Sterling has had a slight drop-off this season having been tied more to the left wing than in the two previous campaigns when he really flourished. So having the ability and licence to play on other side, and through the middle, unleashed Sterling's scoring potential.
There's a much smaller sample size, but a quick glance at Sancho's heat maps shows you he's been used across the full width of the final third this season, as opposed to being predominantly a right winger last year, and that has yielded rich rewards.
Sancho v Sterling season stats
19/20: 23 games | 21 starts | 14 goals | 15 assists | 1.7 shots per game | 129 mins per goal
18/19: 34 games | 26 starts | 12 goals | 14 assists | 0.8 shots per game | 205 mins per goal
19/20: 24 games | 23 starts | 11 goals | 1 assist | 1.8 shots per game | 184 mins per goal
18/19: 34 games | 31 starts | 17 goals | 10 assists | 1.6 shots per game | 163 mins per goal
17/18: 33 games | 29 starts | 18 goals | 11 assists | 2.1 shots per game | 144 mins per goal
Two things stick out in the statistical comparison, namely those impressive assist stats that Sancho has put up in the last two seasons, and the minutes-per-goal ratio he was operating at during the current campaign.
It eclipsed Sterling when he was at his scoring best at City and shows just what a hot streak he was on, and if he can find anything like that form again he'll complete a mightily impressive tally for his CV.
Another obvious point to make is the correlation between the heat map for Sancho's current season showing a far greater spread across the width of the pitch, and not only the goals he's scored but the doubling of his shots per game, showing that being given more licence to roam has really ramped up productivity.
So where could Sancho go?
That's what could be the £120m (or so) question. All the big hitters have been linked, Liverpool and Manchester United most notably over the last couple of transfer windows but also Chelsea and Barcelona are in contention.
Let's not get too over technical here, and player like Sancho would fit into any system at any team - that ability to not only carve out chances but finish them off as well, and the experience of playing across a front three fits in well with most top teams.
Liverpool and Barcelona in particular stand out, and with the Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp link Anfield would look like an ideal destination if it were not for those 'Red Arrows' on Merseyside banging goals in for fun.
Breaking up that front three of Firmino, Salah and Manae will have to come sooner or later, but it'd be a brave man to throw in a £100m-man into that mix and expect to keep all four of them happy.
The mitigating circumstances could be the overwhelming fixture list that is going to come down on Premier League clubs at some stage, with the extended current campaign probably encroaching on next season and international tournaments to squeeze in.
Man City have Financial Fair Play problems and the issue of letting Sancho go in the first place - a look across Manchester tells you bringing players back for huge fees can often backfire.
United look another obvious destination - the team have the financial muscle to pay the fee and the wages and he'd be a great addition to Bruno Fernandes. The Red Devils could also drum-up a lot of the fee by selling a certain Frenchman this summer.
At Barca, Messi and Suarez aren't getting any younger and Sancho would slide into that formation with ease - but unless they or Liverpool make one big push then it looks like Old Trafford is the most likely next stop for Sancho.
That one extra chance to prove Man City wrong may just be too tempting to turn down.