Tying a key player down to a long-term contract used to be viewed as a positive. Now, however, it tends to be the first phase in the lead up to their eventual sale.
Jadon Sancho’s decision to put pen to paper on a new improved deal with Borussia Dortmund should worry supporters. It could well mean it’s his final year as a BVB player.
If reports are accurate, the former Manchester City youngster has been rewarded for his fine performances at the Westfalenstadion with a £120,000-per-week increase to his salary. Sancho is now, according to reports, on £190,000-a-week, which puts him among the top bracket of earners in world football.
It’s a big move by BVB and one that should raise a few eyebrows. The Bundesliga club are financially stable but aren’t in a position to make Sancho’s salary the norm.
The only real way they can justify such a pay hike is if it is a 12-month compromise. Furthermore, the new salary helps BVB when it comes to negotiating his sale.
They could hardly demand £120million plus for a player on £70,000-a-week. The German side are now in a position of power when it comes to negotiating his eventual departure.
But just because they’ve moved to protect their most valuable asset shouldn’t detract away from the fact Sancho deserves this new salary.
His form warrants the hefty pay rise; it no longer can be considered a purple patch for the 19-year-old, not when he's been doing it for 12 months now.
This is Sancho: an elite-level talent and future Ballon d'Or contender.
Since the start of the 2018/19 campaign, no player in Europe's top five leagues under the age of 21 has registred more assists. In fact, only Trent Alexander-Arnold is into double digits alongside his international team-mate.
Lyon playmaker Houssem Aouar trails the two England players with nine, a total Lille attacker Jonathan Ikoné managed while providing the ammunition for Nicolas Pépé.
Kylian Mbappé makes the top five having managed eight assists during this period. Yet Sancho has almost double the PSG star's total.
The 19-year-old is not just a creative force. He's also a goalscorer and a ball carrier.
He's terrorised Bundesliga defenders since he first made his debut. His per 90 averages are nothing short of exceptional and there's a lot of intrigue surrounding whether or not he could transfer what he does seamless enough to have a similar impact on the Premier League.
The Dortmund No.7 has involved himself in 0.97 goals in the Bundesliga on a per 90 basis, with assists slightly edging goals 0.52 to 0.45. He's creating 0.51 big chances, too, which shows he's a regular source of high-quality opportunities for the BVB attackers.
Unlike other wide forwards, Sancho is not shy about getting into the area. His 5.33 touches in the area per 90 is an average usually posted by out and out strikers.
He's quickly learnt that the closer he is to goal the more chance he has of making something happen. Sticking to the touchline does himself or his team no favours.
The one-time Watford youngster is also a proficient dribbler, completed 4.13 of them per 90. It puts him in the same sphere as Wilfried Zaha (3.34) and Eden Hazard (4.24). The difference in quality has to be taken into account but that shouldn't detract away from Sancho's impressive numbers.
Sancho has proven himself to be one of the most destructive wide forwards in the world. He's still young, yes, but that shouldn't mean he isn't compensated accordingly for his performances and his exceptional output.
Dortmund have done the right thing by addressing his contract situation. In doing so they've also protected their investment and guaranteed themselves a club-record sale in 12 months time.