Manchester United hoped that Alexis Sanchez would be the man to kickstart their resurgence but, just 19 months after his arrival at Old Trafford, the winger is joining Inter Milan on loan having endured a miserable time at the club.
Sanchez arrived at United in January 2018 as part of a swap that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan head to Arsenal and at the time it seemed that the Red Devils were getting the better deal.
While Mkhitaryan has also been hugely disappointing for the Gunners, Sanchez’s struggles in Manchester have been significantly worse, with United getting very little in return for paying the Chilean a staggering £500,000 a week.
Alexis Sanchez is leaving Manchester United on loan after a miserable spell at Old Trafford
Sanchez was unveiled by United in a Twitter video showing him playing the piano
By the end Sanchez’s difficulties had become such an issue that both the club and the player were seeking a solution as quickly as possible. United will pay £4.5million of Sanchez’s £21million annual salary while he is on loan and there is no obligation for Inter to make the deal permanent.
A player of whom so much was expected ended up being one of United’s biggest flops, with injuries, struggles off the field and disappointing displays all adding up to a deal that went horribly wrong.
United announced Sanchez’s arrival with a cringeworthy video of the Chilean playing the piano, which was widely mocked on social media. That, though, was not nearly as embarrassing as some of his performances on the pitch.
Sanchez leaves United on loan with a woeful return of just five goals and nine assists in 45 appearances.
Sanchez scored just five goals for United despite being paid a staggering £500,000 a week
Perhaps United should have seen this coming. Sanchez’s final half a season at Arsenal may have seen him score eight goals, but he lacked his usual spark, perhaps as a consequence of over-exerting himself in previous years both at club level and for Chile, for whom he frequently featured in summer international tournaments.
Still, aged 29 when he joined, it was thought that Sanchez would still have much to offer United in their quest to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the table.
What United got though is a player who was a shadow of his former self. Sanchez’s touch was often heavy, his previous dynamism a distant memory.
Injuries didn’t help Sanchez’s cause and he also struggled to bond with his team-mates
Sanchez’s struggles can also be partly attributed to his struggles off the pitch as he failed to fit in with the United squad.
At the club’s Carrington training ground, Sanchez was frequently miserable and often elected to eat alone rather than with his team-mates.
SANCHEZ’S MANCHESTER UNITED STATS
Premier League – 12 games, 2 goals, 3 assists
Champions League – 2 games
FA Cup – 4 games, 1 goal, 2 assists
Premier League – 20 games, 1 goal, 3 assists
Champions League – 4 games
FA Cup – 3 games, 1 goal, 1 assist
Total – 45 games, 5 goals, 9 assists
Although he got an assist on his debut against Yeovil in the FA Cup and scored against Huddersfield in the Premier League early on, matters quickly went downhill for Sanchez, with injuries certainly not helping his cause.
In December 2018, Sanchez missed a host of games due to a hamstring problem, while he was sidelined with an ankle problem between March and April this year.
United tried their best to accommodate Sanchez and get the best out of him as he was deployed in various positions, including either wing, as a second striker and up front on different occasions.
Nothing seemed to work, however, and, after finding it difficult under Jose Mourinho, Sanchez ended up being dropped from the starting lineup with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge as he was frequently named among the substitutes in the latter stages of last season.
There were some positive moments, such as his goal in the victory against his former club Arsenal in the FA Cup last season, but in the main Sanchez was woeful.
One of Sanchez’s worst performances came in a Champions League defeat at home to Sevilla in March 2018 as he frequently squandered possession and appeared devoid of confidence.
The Chile international lacked his usual spark and frequently squandered possession
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Sanchez publicly but still dropped him
Sanchez joins the likes of Memphis Depay and Angel Di Maria who were unable to cope with the pressure of the iconic No 7 shirt at United, but Sanchez was arguably even worse than those two and seemed weighed down by the expectations placed upon him.
It appeared Sanchez’s problems also had a hugely negative effect on United overall, and it became apparent that it was for the best that he was dropped altogether, with Solskjaer instead turning his attention to younger players, such as summer arrival Daniel James.
Solskjaer defended Sanchez publicly, telling the club’s official website: ‘Alexis is such a professional. He comes in every single day, working really hard, and he wants to be a part of this. Of course, there have been [media] stories again, [saying] that he has been put in the Reserves. Of course he hasn’t!’
In truth Sanchez had fallen out of favour and there was no way back for him into the United team.
Sanchez was supposed to help make Manchester United great again but he leaves without having won a trophy at the club and with his reputation as a star performer having been hugely damaged.
Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7402897/Alexis-Sanchez-Manchester-Uniteds-ultimate-Premier-League-flop-scoring-just-five-goals.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490