Alexis Sanchez is about to fill the famous number 7 shirt at Old Trafford. What is everyone so upset about?
Manchester United have essentially played a masterstroke by swooping in for Sanchez in the 11th hour. The media and rival fans always obsess with wages when it comes to a Manchester United transfer so that we inevitably see a sum touted which is well over the initial fee. However you rarely see this with other teams such as Manchester City who paid £50m+ for Kyle Walker but also will be shelling out over £30m on his wages. Make of that what you will. Swapping a player who has not consistently lit up the Theatre of Dreams without a fee to get a world class forward is very good business by Ed Woodward. Consider that if left to the summer there would also be a larger signing on fee involved and a slight possibility of other teams coming in to the negotiations.
I don’t like calling any player a mercenary, they do exist but you have to hope that the love of football is a huge part of any transfer regardless of the money factor. People are parting with large chunks of their incomes to companies such as Apple, Samsung or BSkyB but when world class players who are lighting up the greatest sport in the world are being paid big wages (that reflect the money in the game) everyone calls them out. People could have labelled Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero mercenaries but they changed the teams fortunes and this was forgotten.
Sanchez is being criticised for giving Man City his word regarding a transfer. Although I do understand Pep’s grief with this why should Sanchez be made to feel like a criminal? Pep is an intense character and has not always treated players or managers perfectly. Ask Mauricio Pellegrino who Pep was essentially criticising when directly asking Nathan Redmond on live television why he was not playing attacking football, essentially undermining the managers orders and with no regards to creating a dressing room imbalance. Sanchez has indirectly become more valuable since the summer because his other potential suitors have more of a need for him. So why should he not ask for more money? He hadn’t signed a contract with Pep. By going to City he will know he won’t have contributed to winning the league this year and next year they may not win it. They did not win any trophies at all last year, there are no guarantees in football. Therefore really what is left is the Club in question. I say without bias that United dwarf City in terms of history and tradition, they’re one of the three biggest Clubs in world football and he will be their main man. To say that is fairly appealing would be an understatement.
The only downside of the transfer is that other players may want to improve their deals to match that of Sanchez. I don’t have too much of an issue with this if the player in question is indispensable. Currently I would pander somewhat to Paul Pogba and Antonio Valencia. David De Gea should be given a blank cheque.
ONE FOR THE TEAM
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an attacking player whose game is not really suited to tracking back intensely. I have loved watching Mkhitaryan at United, especially in Europe last season where he felt at home with the continental style. His pace is so deceptive that you forget how fast he really is until he is gliding forward with the ball. Under another manager at United Mkhitaryan may have done very well, though this trait could work really well for him at Arsenal. They would still need to reinforce their midfield and defence though for this to change their fortunes.
Arsenal cannot feel hard done by as they really should have fortified a couple of years ago with the right players and would have currently been in a different predicament. The people who lose out the most in this situation are the Arsenal fans who pay the highest season ticket costs anywhere in world football year on year and have to witness their best players stripped from the team again and again.
Sanchez has scored 60 Goals in 122 appearances for Arsenal and has also contributed with 25 Assists averaging a goal every two matches. He has made also made 189 tackles and 95 interceptions over the past three seasons. Really his 2016/17 season is what United are hoping for him to emulate where he scored 24 league goals and got 10 assists from 38 games.
I haven’t been impressed with Sanchez’s attitude over the last year. He seems to have given up with Arsene Wenger and the contempt has led to him famously smiling whilst his team were being hammered on the pitch. He seems to have lost the dressing room himself as the other players have reportedly given up on Sanchez and the circus surrounding him. However we’ll never really know how much Arsene Wenger is responsible for this with poor management/squad building. Sanchez is a world class player who may have grown weary of his surrounding team mates’ lack of responsibility on the pitch. It can be debated that he was also underpaid relative to other Premier League stars although he was arguably one of the best.
WHERE HE PLAYS
Sanchez can fortunately play anywhere across the forward line so no particular player is under threat but his most effective position would be on the left hand side where he can cut in and really cause problems. Competition for a long run in the team means players such as Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard will have to raise and maintain their form.
He won’t be able to be a loner/diva at Man Utd where he’ll be surrounded by winners and bigger characters. United are one of the only teams in world football who could survive if he was to leave, they have the ability to replace him with a real ‘Galactico’ if needed. He has to move on from being a big fish in a small pond. The advantage Manchester United have created is that Mourinho now has six months run up for next season to decide how to play Sanchez and to decide on a favourite starting eleven. They’ll have a good chance of hitting the ground running and have a free hit in the Champions League this year.