‘You can never enough world class players at a football club’ – goes the saying. It is easy to see why a whole host of teams would want to have a talent like Alexis Sanchez in their ranks. To be able to field a footballer who is always up for a fight on the pitch – to be the leader and take responsibilities in a way he has done at Arsenal could prove vital for any football club, especially at the top end of the Premier League where the stakes are so high that one slip-up could lead to a landslide.
For weeks, the writing was on the wall. Sanchez was unhappy at Arsenal – for reasons too obvious to state and decided to move out of the club – yet remain in the country. The rumours gathered pace linking the 29-year old Chilean in a transfer to Manchester City – a well-trodden path for ambitious footballers at Arsenal who wanted to taste Premier League glory at least once in their lifetimes.
Since the transfer window has opened however, a new candidate seems to have entered the rat race to win the signature of Alexis Sanchez. Manchester United and Mourinho, according to the Guardian, have apparently offered Arsenal £25-million to secure a medium-term deal with Sanchez whose own contract with the Gunners expires in the Summer. The Guardian also mentions that Manchester City and Pep Guardiola have already agreed personal terms – the final details both in terms of playing time at a club that is top-heavy and significantly more lucrative commercial incentives – been discussed and come to an agreement on.
So, should Man United attempt to hijack a deal that is now almost done – given the player prefers to operate under Guardiola and at Manchester City who are very much in the driver’s seat on a straight-forward road to the league title to a Manchester United side which is still rough around the edges and fairly inconsistent under a manager who is known to be abrasive to ultra-attacking footballers – what can United do to swing the deal in their favour other than offer to pay ludicrous sums of money as wages?
There is no doubt that Manchester United will benefit immensely from the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. The Red Devils, for all the firepower they have got on paper – do lack a playmaker in the vein of a Kevin De Bruyne or an Eden Hazard in the final third. Granted, Paul Pogba is in that bracket of footballers who could conjure magic out of thin air – but his deployment in a deeper role often limits his capacity to influence games single-handed.
The above graphic illustrates the alarming gulf between the forwards at Manchester United now and a benchmark in the attacking third for a few years now that is Alexis Sanchez. In a season where the Chilean has been distracted and disillusioned with his teammates, he has managed to rank among the best in the league in terms of the number of chances he created per game – averaging 3 per appearance, which is impressive considering one of United’s most in-form players in Jesse Lingard creates about half of that.
Also, not to mention, the directness, quality of set pieces and the sheer urgency he could bring to the attacking third at Old Trafford which still lacks enough experience to know when to take a gamble in the final third.
Having amassed goals and assists and a couple of trophies for the Gunners since he set foot in North London, Sanchez is as close an ambitious top side could get to ‘the ideal signing’, should one need a ready-made elite level Premier League performer in order to make immediate and tangible difference in the biggest of games and Manchester United – who are now some way off of a title challenge, let alone the league title itself – do need a player of that ilk.
It does appear that Jose Mourinho must win the battle of Manchester now in January to claim the signature of Alexis Sanchez, if he were to win the war in the future.