The much awaited and much hyped transfer of Chilean Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United has finally materialized as the player made the cross across the divide as part of a player exchange deal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way. The now former Arsenal winger will play under Jose Mourinho, as United seem to have strengthened significantly on his arrival. It remains to be seen as to how this transfer is going to affect both the parties- Arsenal and Manchester United. However, Alexis’ arrival has been the subject of more talk and I shall aim to look into what he has on offer for Manchester United, and how Jose Mourinho will accommodate the Chilean in his side.
In Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s departure, United are selling a player that has significantly lost out on his place in the first team under Jose Mourinho. The Armenian endured a spell of poor form and that led to his being dropped. It can be said that the dropping was justified as he was constantly misplacing passes and not being able to thread accurate through balls on the counter, looking thoroughly out of place on the pitch.
Manchester United suffered a series of draws in December that saw them virtually lose out on the title race against Man City, after having lost to their city rivals earlier last month. Those results brought to surface a clear problem for United in the attacking third. They were unable to break down teams, while in other situations not able to finish off their chances. The system was questioned while manager Jose Mourinho was under pressure for not being able to play attacking football, and not show up with the consistent results either. The form of their rivals in Manchester City did not help.
That seems to be a thing of the past now, as Paul Pogba seems to be playing on a very high level and the form of Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard has all significantly increased with the added freedom enjoyed by Paul Pogba in the 4-2-3-1 setup at United. However, the setup at United is crying out for a right winger, someone who can be a threat on the flanks, being able to run at the opposition while also come up with a good number of goals+assists in terms of end product.
In Alexis Sanchez, United are getting a player who is probably one of the best players in the league along with Eden Hazard. While his form this season has not been entirely great, largely down to the fact that he had sights elsewhere, with a move to City breaking down earlier in the summer transfer window.
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Sanchez’s arrival also gives United much needed depth in the attacking department as the likes of Lukaku, Martial, Rashford and Sanchez will now compete for three spots while Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata might now be more be more inclined towards the #10 role. This also significantly reduces the creative burden on Pogba, who has more often than not been the only go to player for United.
Sanchez’s goal return has been nothing short of fantastic for someone who does not play as a striker. He has scored 80 goals for Arsenal in a little over than 160 appearances for Arsenal while also grabbing his fair share of assists. No other Arsenal player has had more goal involvements than Sanchez since he signed for them and this will only bode well for United.
With Lukaku, Martial and Sanchez, United potentially have three 20+ goals players in their squad, although it can be argued that Martial needs to significantly improve on that regard. However, the prospect of featuring all the three along with Pogba and Mata/Lingard in the side is an enticing prospect.
An interesting aspect that I did not think of much. We actually have two very capable game changers(on the flanks?)now. Remains to be seen as to how his arrival impacts Pogba, Martial and Lukaku https://t.co/jafxhHQnRg
— Raghu (@Sarriballl) January 22, 2018
His work-rate is also commendable, although Jose Mourinho needs to harness this aspect into making him run only at desired times and not initiate presses by himself without the team following in behind him. Once Jose molds Sanchez though, you feel that he can get the job done as a winger shuttling up and down on the flanks, providing defensive cover when needed.
It also remains to be seen as to how the ‘big’ players in the squad get along with each other. The likes of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial like to have the limelight while the same can be said for Alexis. Mourinho though has it in him to have the squad happy, one would presume as he has managed to do so in his previous clubs, especially at Real Madrid.
By the looks of it, United have had a coup signing Sanchez for no fee, and offloading a player who seemed to have lost his way here at United. They sign a game changer who can significantly increase their chances of challenging on all fronts, with Sanchez not being cup tied for the Champions League a huge added plus for United.