Alexis Sanchez is entering the last-chance saloon at Manchester United
Background photo: KGGucw, CC BY-SA 3.0
This month makes it one full year since Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United and in that time, he has scored a grand total of 4 goals in 30 matches for the Old Trafford outfit. The Chile international was the subject of a transfer tussle between United and bitter rivals, Manchester City though he ultimately plumped for the Red Devils; a timely reminder of the team that held the aces in Manchester. Since he swapped London for the rainy North-West, the sun has refused to shine on the #7.
He has struggled badly for form and has also suffered his fair share of injuries, but suffice to say, he hasn't had the desired impact that was required. The sacking of Jose Mourinho and the subsequent appointment of club legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer means that he can remind everyone of his undoubted quality. He is back to full fitness, with his manager praising him for his attitude and demeanour in training recently, the attacker could be in for a career rejuvenation at the Theatre of Dreams.
Tactically, Solksjaer is adopting a three-man attack and playing with wingers that hug the touchlines. This certainly plays in Sanchez's favour due to his speed, strength, aggression and drive. The 30-year-old excels on either flank, meaning he can get game time wherever the manager sees fit. The fact that he can also play through the middle works for the forward. It's this versatility that gives him a solid base to build upon, and when given regular minutes, no doubt his quality will begin to shine through.
At 30, it is almost certain he got the biggest deal of his career and will be hoping to make a positive impact upon Salford Quays. A four-and-half-year contract means that he will be 33 when his deal expires, so this spell at United will be the one that everyone remembers and he'll be hoping to go out on a high.
With his quality, he will expect to take control of matches single-handedly and be the superstar of a team, becoming a player is almost an undroppable. Under Solksjaer, he will have to prove why he deserves every minute out on that hallowed Old Trafford turf. His quality is undoubtedly there and under the new manager he has a fresh slate to show that he can offer something to this club. The fans have been largely disappointed so far, but you feel that this six-month period from now until the season's end could be make or break.
It's now down to the player to show everyone that the poor performances over the last twelve months weren't his fault. In fact, like so many others, he'll be out to prove that it was Mourinho's fault for playing him with the shackles on. Sanchez should look to Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba as his biggest inspiration, because these two extremely talented players are now flourishing, and if he can follow suit, then the Chile international will be like a new signing for the club - and good performances is the least United fans should expect when you look at his hefty wage packet...