Saudi Pro League chief makes brutal ‘dumping ground’ jibe at Man Utd man amid transfer talk

Joe Williams
Man Utd winger Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho takes part in a pre-season friendly.

Michael Emenalo insists he doesn’t want the Saudi Pro League to become a “dumping ground” after being asked about a potential move for Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho.

The England international came off the bench in the Red Devils’ first three Premier League matches of the season but was left out of their squad altogether in their 3-1 loss to Arsenal in September.

Erik ten Hag claimed after the match that Sancho was omitted from his squad because of his poor performances in training but Sancho took to social media to deny those claims and insist he was being used as the “scapegoat” for the club’s early season form.

Sancho eventually took the post down but he is refusing to apologise to Ten Hag and continues to train away from the first team and is banned from using any of the first-team facilities.

Speaking about Sancho’s continued exile earlier this month, Ten Hag said: “So it is about a culture and every player has to match certain standards and it was about that. What will happen [for Sancho’s future?] He knows what he has to do, if he wants to return and it is up to him. He knows what he has to do, it is up to him.”

It is now likely that Man Utd will choose to sell or loan Sancho in the January transfer window with various rumours over his potential destination.

READ MORE: Big Weekend: Liverpool v Man Utd, Sean Dyche, Newcastle, Brennan Johnson

Saudi Arabia has been one rumoured landing spot as they look to bring some of the world’s most talented footballers to the Middle East.

Despite acknowleding Sancho’s qualities, Saudi Pro League director of football Emenalo insists the league does not want to be “regarded as a dumping ground” for players like Sancho.

Emenalo told Sky Sports: “We can’t discuss specific targets with respect to the parent clubs and also for the player himself. We also don’t want to be regarded as a dumping ground for players that didn’t work in other clubs.

“We have to look carefully at what our clubs require. We will work closely to make that happen. I don’t want to minimise the quality or importance of a player like Jadon, who I’ve known for a very long time… Right now, there are no specific discussions about any specific players.”

On the impact of former Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo on the Saudi Pro League, Emenalo added: “As someone who is an administrator in this league, I am grateful for what he brings. Cristiano is a wonderful example in our industry, he was one of the first players to actively invest in himself as a product for his profession.

“What he’s doing at the age he is now is Lebron [James] like, it’s very unique. We are really proud of him and personally, I’m very respectful of the contributions he’s making to our league.

“He’s been challenged here. He’s gone through many droughts and come back and raised his level. His level of talent, there are reasons why he is in the discussions as being ‘world class’. He’s one of the best players ever, he’s got world-class mentality to align with world-class talent… He’s been a wonderful signing for the league.”