One of the biggest January transfers in Premier League history has finally concluded with Alexis Sanchez moving from Arsenal to Manchester
Sanchez stalled on a new contract at the Emirates for months as he weighed up his options with a move to the blue side of Manchester looking likely, only for Jose Mourinho to swoop in and get his man. Twelve points off the title race and knocked out of the Carabao Cup, the Man United manager needed to act and a make a statement signing. Sanchez has been available for some time with a clear intention he wanted to leave, so why did Mourinho wait so long?
United have lacked the sort of knockout punch that for so long saw Man City go undefeated. Their form over the Christmas period was a nice homage to last seasons woes. For so much of last year United failed to kill off teams and that curse struck again with three successive draws against Leicester, Burnley and Southampton.
These are the type of games Sanchez would settle single handily. He has the quality to decide the big games, drag a team over the line and be utterly ruthless when it counts. As a forward, few can match his guile, speed and eye for goal. Last season, he was the only player in the Premier League to reach double figures for both goals and assists. Since joined the Gunners in 2014 he has scored 80 goals in 165 games. If Sanchez had joined in July, there is no way United would 12 points behind City.
On a reported £450,000 a week, at 29 years old, there is a potential risk to this move. United have only just seen the back of Wayne Rooney, an undoubted club legend but whose powers waned towards the end of his time at Old Trafford on a considerable wage. At this price Sanchez is a gamble, but one well worth taking.
Even with Sanchez now in their side, it’s too late for United. They may well go on decent run but this City side won’t be dropping 12 points anytime soon. If only Sanchez had arrived earlier, things may well have been different. Robin van Persie made a similar controversial move from Arsenal to Man United, scoring 26 goals in his first season and like van Persie before him, Sanchez could have been the catalyst to a title winning side. With Man City assembling such a talented and youthful squad down the road, United cannot afford to dither in the transfer market like this again.