Equal Time: Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United: Who loses?
In this game, there are winners and losers. With every transfer, other players will benefit and suffer. Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez is no different.
Jose Mourinho has swooped in for his man. Mkhitaryan gains a second lease on Premier League life. Alexis Sanchez could get everything he wants. Money. Trophies. Prestige.
What about everyone else? This swap deal has negative ramifications for multiple attackers in the red halves of both London and Manchester:
This is the confidence-knocker that might cost him a spot in the Les Bleus squad for Russia. The former Lyon and Monaco man has been in and out of the team under Mourinho more than any other player. His recent form has been exceptional. His finish against Burnley yesterday was the lone brilliant moment in the contest and delivered three points. His reward? He goes home wondering whether he still has a starting job.
This deal can be interpreted as more than a warning. It can be seen as a sign Jose Mourinho has little faith in Martial as a winger, where he’s been deployed on multiple occasions, or at all in the central role the player prefers. Summer signing Romelu Lukaku already closed the door on that option.
Martial and Sanchez are both inverted wingers who cut inside and finish with their right foot to devastating effect. Martial's numbers are superior to the new arrival. Will it mean a thing?
Marcus Rashford has been Jose Mourinho's go-to player off the bench this season, with a start or two thrown in. He hasn't been as productive as Martial. The young Englishman however is more versatile, able to play either side. Nevertheless, his status as the sole United player to appear in every match this campaign is endangered.
The Spaniard has been struggling to stamp his authority on the pitch this season. His output has dropped in terms of assists, shots per game, key passes, and dribbles. He’s played in 80% of United’s league games but only been involved in six goals.
His contract is due to run out in six months. The end of his Old Trafford tenure may be near.
Danny Welbeck & Alex Iwobi
The fact these two players remain on Arsenal's books reveals a great deal about how far the Gunners have fallen.
Iwobi’s fortunate. He’s only 21. Time is still on his side. Otherwise he’d have been loaned out or sold to a lower league side.
Welbeck, on the other hand, proves Louis Van Gaal hadn't lost all his marbles. Selling a somewhat promising 24-year old who’d stagnated for £16 million was a surprise. Now it ranks among the Dutchman's best decisions during an Old Trafford term that was combative only in the press room. Welbeck's scoring record is not good. Just 22 goals in 91 matches for the Gunners. He's never reached double figures in a single Gunners campaign.
Mkhitaryan's signing means continued bench duties for both. It's probably time for both to seek other opportunities.