The Borussia Dortmund technical director, Michael Zorc, who signed Jadon Sancho, has said that the quality of English teenage footballers has now overtaken that of their German counterparts, as Bundesliga clubs jostle to sign the latest Premier League academy talent.
Zorc, in charge of Dortmund’s recruitment since 1998 and at the head of their renaissance as one of Germany’s most successful clubs, said on Thursday that his scouts had focused their efforts on a talented generation coming to the fore from the new English academy system. His club will face Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 game at Wembley on Wednesday, with Sancho, arguably Europe’s most in-form teenager, in the side.
The 18-year-old was signed from Manchester City in the summer of 2017 and has established himself as a regular in Lucien Favre’s team, who lead the Bundesliga by seven points. Sancho turned down a new professional contract at City and was an £8 million sale to Dortmund. Zorc, who has helped build Dortmund’s model of developing and selling talent, said that City were now also making a profit on homegrown players who did not reach the first team.
Zorc said that it was international tournament results that stood out, with the success of England’s Under-17s and Under-20s, both world champions in 2017. “You can recognise it in those results,” he said. “You know the English teams are reaching the finals of Under-17 [World Cup], Under-19 [European championships] compared to the German ones. It seems to me that they overtook us.”