|Image Source: Telegraph|
Alexis Sanchez has officially left Manchester United and joined Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan. Sanchez had been sent on loan to the Nerazzurri at the start of the 2019/20 season after a more than disappointing spell at Old Trafford. After a mere 5 goals and 9 assists in 45 appearances, he joined fellow ex-United players Romelu Lukaku and later on Ashley Young as they powered Inter to a second-place finish, only 1 point behind winners Juventus. During his time on loan, he has had 4 goals and 10 assists in about 15 fewer appearances. It is quite baffling that we’re having this conversation about a player who had 80 goals and 45 assists in 166 games for Arsenal and Manchester United signed him in a swap deal with Henrick Mkhitaryan going the other way. Sanchez also played for a Jose Mourinho side that finished 2nd, winning 81 points that season.
So where did it all go wrong for Sanchez and Manchester United?
There are quite a few reasons and it needs to be looked at over the entire spectrum. Taking it chronologically, Manchester United were in their second season under Jose Mourinho and were trailing Manchester City’s centurions by quite some distance. Despite being a defensively astute side, Mourinho was crying out for an experienced centre back. City, on the other hand, were linked to Alexis Sanchez all summer but the deal fell through. City moved on from the deal but Sanchez desperately wanted out of that poor Arsenal side.
Fast forward to the January transfer window and it was all but clear that Sanchez was leaving Arsenal. City didn’t want to sign him because Pep Guardiola thought a signing of that magnitude might disrupt the balance of a potential title-winning squad. Ed Woodward, however, was tempted into taking the deal while completely negating what the team required at that time. Sanchez was one of the best players in the league at the time and such a big name playing for United must have been irresistible for the marketing team. Sanchez signed a deal that would make him about £560k a week with bonuses. His bonuses included some absolutely absurd clauses like £75k for every game he plays and £1.1m every year as a signing on bonus.
That deal made him the highest-paid player in the United squad causing massive unrest amongst the players. Despite getting him for free, he ended up costing us a lot of money which prevented us from spending in the summer window, signing only Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant thus not addressing key issues in the squad. Players like Ander Herrera and David De Gea made massive wage demands because of which Herrera ultimately left the club and joined Paris Saint Germain. David De Gea signed a multimillion-pound contract which has kept him at the club.
The actions between January 2018 and June 2018 completely ruined the wage structure at the club which had far-reaching implications like Phil Jones signing a new contract. 12 months after signing Sanchez, Mourinho was sacked and the Chilean was a mere appendix to the squad that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was trying to build. Sanchez’s very poor form did not help his case either as many believe that the money involved in the deal was intimidating to him and ended up underperforming due to the same. Even when he was loaned to Inter, United agreed to pay £175k of his total wages. Including bonuses, United are now looking to save about £20m a year after selling him on a permanent deal. This money can be better used on transfers that will actually guide the team in the right direction and get rid of the mercenaries in the squad.