Alexis Sanchez’s switch from Arsenal to Man United as part of a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan was one of the biggest Premier League transfer deals of the 2018 January transfer window. Since joining the Red Devils from Arsenal, Sanchez has been a disastrous signing, registering just five goals and nine assists in 45 appearances.
Upon his arrival from Arsenal, Man United believed they had pulled off quite the coup beating rivals Man City to the signing of a top target. There was also genuine hope that he could help Man United field one of the most exciting attacks in the Premier League and bring back the glory days to Old Trafford. Those expectations have since faded away with Sanchez lacking the vigor and sharpness that saw him shine at Arsenal. Last summer, Man United sent Sanchez on a season-long loan to Inter Millan, but life at Inter Millan hasn’t been much better for him. At Inter Milan, injuries have restricted him to just 15 appearances. He has only managed to register a single goal and three assists. Sanchez has mostly looked lackluster on the pitch so far this season. His bad form at Inter has led to the suggestion that Coach Antonio Conte has little interest in signing Sanchez permanently at the end of the current season. It appears Sanchez now looks set to return to Old Trafford this summer with two years remaining on his current contract.
Does Sanchez deserve another chance at Man United?
Earlier this year, Man United Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that Sanchez can still return to his best form and will come back this summer and prove all his critics wrong. Does it mean he is going to give him a second chance to prove his worth? Sanchez was once one of the premier league’s most feared forwards during his time at Arsenal but has dipped in form since joining Man United.
A section of the Man United fans believes that the style of play from the then manager Jose Mourinho didn’t suit him. At Barcelona, creativity was abundant in the team, and he slotted in perfectly alongside other brilliant players who were familiar with the expansive football playing style. Although the creativity at Arsenal did not have the same quality as Barcelona, Sanchez became well suited to their style of play, which was similar to Barcelona’s own. During his first season at Man United, his striking partners were Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Romelu Lukaku. Although these players were excellent in their own right, they lacked experience while their characteristics simply did not marry up with him. It was clear that Pogba and Mata were the only players who could combine effectively with him. Currently, Man United are now a better team and have more quality in their side than when he left, and that will help Sanchez thrive. The likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have gained much experience now, alongside winter signing Bruno Fernandes, who has brought more creativity to the team. It is now Solskjaer’s job to get the best out of Sanchez because he is an experienced player. At his best, Sanchez will be a massive boost to the team and become an upgrade to the current attackers. He could also help the team challenge for the Premier League title next season.
What next for Man United and Sanchez?
Sanchez’s current situation presents a massive dilemma to both the club and the player. The big question is, should Man United sell him, keep him or should the player take a pay cut and move on because his astronomical wages are proving to be a stumbling block for clubs who are interested in his services. If Man United is to keep him, he could struggle for game time since the likes of Martial and Rashford are currently ahead of him. He would play second fiddle to them. Sanchez is reportedly a target for Premier League side West Ham who is interested in making a shock move for him in the summer. West Ham has struggled for goals this season and is in search of a proven striker to be their talisman in front of the goal. Sanchez is still a top player despite his struggles in the past few years. He is 31 years old player who still has age on his side. His former club Colo-Colo in Chile are also interested but could be unable to match his current wages. If Sanchez is not ready to take a pay cut, then his next destination would be either the Chinese Super League or the Major League Soccer, who have clubs that can afford his current wages.