It was always a surprising move when earlier this year, during the winter transfer window, the swap deal of Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan between Arsenal and Manchester United was announced.
Arsenal fans couldn’t wrap their head around this transfer of their talismanic forward, although the Chilean forward was not having a great start to the season for the Gunners. It was felt that Manchester United had got a very good deal from Arsenal, snatching Sanchez from their city rivals Manchester City right under their nose. But things have not been so smooth for the player, as well as his new club so far.
Alexis Sanchez has not yet proved his worth, with only netting in four times in 26 appearances for the Red Devils. Thus, the 29-year-old attacker has been the topic of discussion among the football pundits and legends since his move to Old Trafford back in January.
Former Arsenal star Robert Pires joins the growing criticism of the Chilean and has termed his January move to United as a mistake to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. He insisted on Sanchez staying with the London club, with the style of football played by Arsenal suiting his play. Pires said to El Mercurio :
“Honestly, it (Sanchez’s transfer) surprised me.
“For me, Sanchez had to stay at Arsenal, where he was one of our stars.
“I don’t know if he could say no to United, but I think the style of play of the London club suits his performances better. But you have to respect his decision.
“Alexis was very good, he’s an excellent footballer, but I also got to know him as a person and I can say that I loved knowing him, he is a friend.
“He stands out for his professionalism and that helped Arsenal to win several trophies.”
Alexis Sanchez has struggled to replicate his Arsenal form for the Red Devils. He has scored 80 goals and has 45 assists in 166 appearances for the Gunners since his transfer to the Emirates from the La Liga Champions Barcelona in 2014. The Chilean forward soon became a favourite among the Arsenal fans.
His recent late winner against Newcastle United in the league fixture, where Manchester United made a comeback at Old Trafford to win 3-2 against Rafael Benitez’s side, was seen as a sign that he could start afresh for the Old Trafford based club, but he played only five minutes in the draw vs Chelsea, and missed the Champions League game vs Juventus. If reports are to be believed, he could also miss this week’s Premier League match against Everton, having sustained an injury.
Thus, life after Arsenal has not been at all what Sanchez would have wished for, a smooth ride with Manchester United and putting an everlasting impression on the Manchester United fans and Jose Mourinho. While United continue to struggle this season, sitting tenth in the league, Arsenal seem to be thriving under their new boss Unai Emery, sitting fourth at the Premier League, and having won 11 games on the trot in all competitions.