Despite all the hype surrounding Alexis Sanchez’s January move to Manchester United, the forward’s performances have been somewhat disappointing.
The Chilean arrived on the back of a lengthy saga that speculated his future at Arsenal, which resulted in a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan head in the opposite direction.
At the time, it appeared to be a great deal for Jose Mourinho – who had shipped out an out-of-favour player in favour of one that nearly joined Manchester City for £60 million in the summer.
United fans were surely feeling pretty smug that the former Arsenal man’s move to City collapsed in the summer and instead move to Old Trafford for theoretically nothing just a few months later.
But the eight appearances Sanchez has made so far for the Red Devils have produced performances far short of those he produced during his peak at the Emirates.
The Chilean had already looked somewhat short of his best at the start of the campaign, following heavy speculation during the off-season about his future, which clearly impacted his form.
However, many would have predicted that, after finally getting the move away from Arsenal which he craved, the Red Devils would start to get the best out of Sanchez this season.
But with just a single goal in eight appearances for United, it’s not been the case. And Jose Mourinho has already confessed joining in January has been a disadvantage for the forward.
Mourinho comes to Sanchez’s defence
“What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment of the season, in the winter market,” Mourinho said per BBC Sport.
“That’s why I don’t like the winter market very much. I think [signing Sanchez] was a chance that we didn’t want to lose and we made it, but we don’t believe a lot in the winter market.
“For sure next season will be better for him.”
However, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes his former club will only get the best out of Sanchez when the Portuguese gets him playing in more advanced positions.
And with United hosting rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, the former midfielder claims to know how to get the most out of the Chilean against the Reds.
Neville demands Sanchez makes it difficult
“Yes, he has been disappointing since he arrived, but the thing for me with Alexis Sanchez is that he’s got to play more advanced,” Neville told Sky Sports, per Goal.
“Liverpool will want to see him in deeper areas rather than getting in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“The young lad did really well at Old Trafford but playing against Anthony Martial or Sanchez he will find the game more difficult if they are making runs in behind.
“I would if I was playing and so would any other defender, so he has to be tested, as will Andrew Robertson.
“He has to receive balls in advanced areas and I’d like to see him close to Romelu Lukaku and even making runs in behind him.”
Neville will hope the magnitude of the occasion will see Sanchez more willingly going deeper into opposition territory, as United and Liverpool battle for a second-placed finish.
Listen to the first episode of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin