Jayden Braaf insists he's "not the next Jadon Sancho" after making the switch from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund. Is the Dutch teenager being modest? bundesliga.com finds out...
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: Netherlands (21 youth caps/ seven goals)
Braaf joined Ajax aged seven, moved to PSV Eindhoven at 11 and arrived at Manchester City nearly five years later. A 2018/19 FA Youth Cup winner with the U18s, the 5'9" winger was named the Man City U23s' Player of the Year in 2020, after contributing nine goals in 16 English Premier League 2 appearances.
Braaf trained with the City first team under Pep Guardiola, but it was during a six-month loan spell at Udinese, where he made his senior debut, in a Serie A meeting with Fiorentina. The right-footed Dutchman was handed his first start and scored his maiden professional goal in April 2021, only for a serious knee injury to rob him of a year of his development.
After recovering full fitness, Braaf sought a move to pastures new, despite holding a contract with parent club Man City through to June 2023. He penned a three-year deal at Dortmund in summer 2022, hoping to rediscover the kind of form that helped the Netherlands reach the semi-finals of the 2019 U17s FIFA World Cup, where he scored and assisted twice.
Plays a bit like: Jadon Sancho
"Everyone is thinking about Sancho No.2. but I'm just myself. I'm not the new Sancho or something like that," explained Braaf in his City days.
There's no faulting the youngster for wanting to forge his own identity in the professional game, but it's hard to ignore the similarities.
Aside from the fact he's swapped the Man City youths for Dortmund first team like Sancho before him, Braaf is another quick and skillful winger who comes alive in one-on-one situations. His end product isn't half bad either.
Watch: Jadon Sancho's top 5 Bundesliga goals
Did you know?
Braaf credits his parents with keeping his dream of playing professional football alive, following the disappointment of being let go by Ajax as a 12-year-old boy.
"I actually thought that I don't want to play football anymore," Braaf recalled in an interview with Voetbal International. "If Ajax says I'm not good enough, where will I go now? But my parents said I absolutely had to keep going."
Braaf's folks have been in his corner ever since. "Jayden had a lot of offers from clubs around Europe," father Jeriano said prior to his son's Udinese loan move. "They saw videos of him playing for Man City. He's a very good player."
What they're saying
"Jayden, whose development we have been following closely for years, has shown in the past that he can be a difference-maker with his pace and talent. He has real potential." - Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl
"He has incredible skills, but at the same time there are another six or seven players playing there, so we'll have to see how his evolution is." - Guardiola on Braaf's first-team prospects at Man City
"Jayden's a real handful for opposition full-backs when we can give him the ball and he's got space to go and run at them. You can see with the goals he has scored and the chances he has created that – whether he goes outside or inside – he gives opposition defences all sorts of problems." - former Man City U23 coach Paul Harsley
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