Two years ago today, Alexis Sanchez showed what could have been for him at Manchester United.
The Chilean was instrumental in the club’s second-half turnaround over noisy neighbours Manchester City, assisting Paul Pogba with a fantastic ball over the top for his side’s equaliser. Sanchez ran riot on the right, showcasing his direct ability in driving the team forward with his movement on and off the ball.
Such a performance is, however, one of just a handful of positives that the Chilean has returned to United since his move back in January 2018. Given his disastrous form, the club should not waste any time in giving out third chances to the player.
How has he fared at Inter Milan?
When Sanchez was loaned out to Inter Milan at the start of the season, there was some optimism that he could rekindle some form in Italy. Joining up with the highly-motivated Antonio Conte, he was arriving in an ambitious environment, with the Serie A side having secret hopes of pushing for the league title.
Things for the Chilean though, haven’t gone to plan. He suffered a peroneus tendon injury in October, ruling him out until at least the New Year.
Even when returning to full-fitness, Sanchez has struggled to break into the first-team picture. Conte operates with two wing-backs and no inside forwards, leaving space for two strikers up-top. Given the effective partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martínez though, this leaves little room for Alexis.
He started in both the club’s Europa League games this year, but the two fixtures were low down in their overall ambitions for the season. Sanchez’s appearances in the league have been nothing short of cameos off the bench, meaning it’s been another campaign to forget for the 31-year-old.
Little room at home
It’s recently been reported that Conte has no interest in signing the Chilean on a permanent basis, meaning the forward will re-join United this summer.
Sanchez will be returning to a completely different set-up though, with Solskjaer using his first full season in charge to re-build and establish a much younger, brighter look to the Red Devils’ side. He has opted to build his attacking shape around energetic talents like Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Mason Greenwood.
On paper, Sanchez’s profile does not exactly coincide with the manager’s vision. Solskjaer is identifying targets this summer to inject more competition into his squad, but the Chilean simply looks like a potential disruption.
United are committed to their manager’s cause and this year, have seen the benefits in staying loyal to a system that has been worked on for the past twelve months now. We have seen Sanchez try and be shoehorned into the team in the past, having struggled to nail down a position on either flank, or even through the middle.
As per the MEN, the club are more open to selling the 31-year-old, and this looks to be the most sensible decision for a team that is trying to eradicate any lingering negativity around Old Trafford.