Alexis Sanchez: The big money gamble that's failed to pay off
Sanchez's Struggles Continue
We're now 13 months into Alexis Sanchez's Manchester United career and the Chilean is still yet to look at home in his new surroundings. The 30 year-olds transfer to the north west last January was seen as a massive statement of intent by the Red Devils, capturing one of the Premier League's brightest attacking talents along with weakening a rival in Arsenal. He was seen by many as the missing link between United finally ending their title drought, with their success in the 2012/13 campaign still the last time that they lifted the Premier League.
When a player at a top club fails to deliver they will always be under the spotlight but when it's Manchester United it's a completely different kettle of fish. The Red Devils may not be the dominant force they were back in the Ferguson days but they are still one of (if not the) biggest clubs in the world so the pressure is immense - which won't be helping Sanchez. There's a number of factors that come into play when looking at his situation and despite him being just a year into a ridiculously lucrative four-and-a-half year deal it really begs the question - should United cut their losses?
Top earner failing to deliver top performances
When Manchester United signed Alexis Sanchez just over a year ago it was seen as a huge moment in the clubs recent history. To obtain a player of that quality was a massive statement of intent and it got their supporters excited that good times were just around the corner - but so far it's been something of a disaster. Before joining the Red Devils the Chilean was regarded as one of the top flights finest attacking talents, netting 60 Premier League goals in just 122 appearances which included 24 in the 2016/17 campaign - so surely he'd fit right in alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial? Wrong.
During his time with Arsenal he was given license to roam and express himself under Arsene Wenger, who prided himself on attacking football. In moving to Manchester and working under Jose Mourinho he was forced to undertake a slightly different role, with the 56 year-old much more pragmatic. There was always going to be teething issues in understanding a new system and manager but no one would've forseen what has happened so far - with Sanchez notching just 5 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions since moving to Old Trafford.
The statistics make damning reading for a player who was once one of the Premier League's most feared forwards and what else is worrying for both Man Utd and their supporters is his contract. Competition for Sanchez's signature was fierce with rivals Manchester City looking in pole position to sign him all the way through the January 2018 window - only for Utd to swoop in and poach him at the last minute. But in doing so they offered him an absolutely ridiculous contract - one which he simply couldn't refuse - to become the clubs record earner.
There's been plenty of figures banded about around Sanchez's United deal but it's rumoured to be around the £500k a week mark, making him not just Manchester United's top earner, not just the Premier League's top earner, but one of the highest in world football. It was a massive gamble by the United board to smash their wage structure like that and in all honesty it's been a calamity. Not just did they give him that massive weekly wage but they also gave him four-and-a-half year deal at the age of 29 - meaning if he sees it out he will be on the Utd books till the age of 33 will earn upwards of £100m - simply unbelievable numbers.
New hope under a new manager?
Many initially believed that Sanchez's struggles at Manchester United were down to Jose Mourinho's defensive minded system. Since the 56 year-old has left Old Trafford we've seen a new, vibrant, exciting Utd side led by club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer which has seemingly been scoring goals at will - something that you'd think would be music to the ears of Sanchez. He has battled with his fair share of injury problems over the course of the campaign but since returning to full fitness he's been noway near the starting XI - with Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all preferred over him in the wide areas.
Lingard has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the change in management, delivering some very impressive performances. But if someone told you that 13 months into Sanchez's United career he wouldn't be able to get a game ahead of the England man you'd call them crazy - but it's now the harsh reality for the Chilean. Lingard's energy, intensity and ability to drive Manchester United forward provides everything that the Red Devils thought they were getting in Sanchez and he clearly has a long way to go if he's to break back into the first team picture.
Tuesday nights clash with PSG in the Champions League was perhaps the biggest indication of just how much he's declined over the last 13 months. He replaced Lingard just before the interval and just failed to get in the game at all. Evenings like that were exactly why he was brought to the club, to help United become a force both domestically and continentally but he was instead shown up by the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria - who made a superb first return to Old Trafford since departing back in 2015, registering 2 assists in a tormenting performance.
Sanchez ended the game with no successful dribbles, no shots and no key passes - yes, he wasn't helped by his teammates but again it shows just how the Chilean's game has dropped over the last year. Once one of European footballs elite performers, it's sad to see his decline especially with him just at the age of 30. He should be at the peak of his powers just like Sergio Aguero at Manchester City who's as prolific as ever, but instead he's struggling to even make the bench at times for Manchester United on £500k a week.
What next for Man Utd & Sanchez?
Sanchez's Manchester United career doesn't really show too many signs of turning around anytime soon and with him still under contract for another three-and-a-half years, he won't want to move on anytime soon as it will almost certainly mean he takes a pay-cut. There won't be many clubs in world football who'll be willing to match the outrageous deal he's currently on at Old Trafford, so this has got to go down as an awful gamble by the United board. Signing Sanchez looked like a real coup at the time and to snatch him from under the noses of City sent out a big statement, but it's been a disaster.
Whether it's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or a new man at the helm for the Red Devils at the start of next season, we're expecting some serious discussions to take place around Sanchez's future and we can't see him staying at Old Trafford too much longer IF they can find a taker. A move to another European club looks highly unlikely due to his astronomical wages so it all points to a move to Asia and Chinese Super League, which is definitely a more financially viable option.
We've already seen Marouane Fellaini and Mousa Dembele make the move to the CSL over the last month so it's definitely a realistic option for Sanchez - but in-turn it would probably end his career in European football. The Sanchez signing was one hell of a gamble by the United board and ultimately it hasn't worked out, so it's going to be interesting to see how it pans out...
BET £5 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS + 40 FREE SPINS!!!! 😍😍😍
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. 40 FREE SPINS AT £0.10 PER SPIN. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. GAME AND ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. 7 DAY FREE SPIN EXPIRY. FREE SPINS WILL AUTOPLAY ON FIRST ELIGIBLE GAME LOADED. FURTHER T&CS APPLY 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG.
GET £20 IN RISK FREE BETS!!!! ✅
New customers only. Deposit £20 using Debit Card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply. 18+.
♥️ Deposit £10 with code FORTY and get £40 free play as cash & Spin & Go tickets! ♥️
New PokerStars players only. Min. deposit £10 with Bonus Code 'FORTY'. Free Play given as cash and Spin & Go tickets over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Restrictions may apply to bonus (excludes withdrawal of bonus winnings). T&C's Apply
🎯 BET £10 AND GET UP TO £30 IN FREE BETS! 🎯
New users only. Place qual bets of £10 (min odds 1/2, 2+ legs) in 1st 7 days to unlock. Awarded as 3 x £10 free bet. Min odds 1/1 3+ legs, + 7 day expiry. Winnings in cash. Full T&Cs Apply).
🔥 BET £10 ON ANY SPORT & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔥
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bets valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. begambleaware.org.
🤩 Bet £10 & get £20 in FREE BETS 🤩
New customers only, min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from Debit card only. Paypal not accepted. Min odds evens (1/5 per multi selection). 2x £10 Free Bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned, no cash out. T&Cs apply.
🏇🏼 BET £10 ON ANY RACE TODAY & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! 🏇🏼
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
GET A £20 FREE BET WHEN YOU BET £20 ON ANY SPORT!!!! 😍😍😍
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. STRICTLY 18+. MINIMUM DEPOSIT £20. PLACE ANY £20 SPORTSBOOK BET AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) TO RECEIEVE YOUR FREE £20 BET. YOUR £20 FREE BET MUST BE WAGERED TWICE (X2) AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) BEFORE IT BECOMES CASH. IF YOUR FIRST £20 BET WINS, YOU HAVE TO BET £20 AGAIN TWICE AT MIN ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) OR HIGHER TO TURN THE £20 FREE BET IN TO CASH. BUT YOU DO WIN CASH ON YOUR FIRST BET IF IT WINS - IT'S THE £20 BONUS THAT IS LOCKED UNTIL MINIMUM WAGERING REQUIREMENTS ARE MET.
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Open account offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply. 18+.
🌟 Bet £5 & get £30 in bonuses! 🌟
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Betfair account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
💎 BET £10 & GET £40 IN FREE BETS 💎
18+. Play Safe. When you sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.