Alexis Sanchez became one of the sport’s most dangerous forwards at Arsenal. The former Udinese and Barcelona star certainly excelled during his time in Italy and Spain; however, it was during his three-and-a-half years in north London that propelled him into the spotlight. In particular, the Chilean’s 2016/17 campaign, his final full season at the Emirates was especially excellent.
Sanchez started the summer of ’16 by guiding his country to the Copa America title. Not only did he help Chile win their second consecutive South American competition, but he was also awarded as the Player of the Tournament as well. Sanchez then carried this form into the 2016/17 season with Arsenal.
Given a more central role by then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Sanchez scored 30 goals in 51 total matches on the season. As impressive as this tally is, the forward also managed 18 assists in all competitions. This obviously means that Sanchez nearly averaged either a goal or assist in every match he took part of for the Gunners that season. Not only was he individually outstanding, but he also helped Arsenal collect their record 13th FA Cup in May of 2017. Playing in his more traditional wide position, Sanchez grabbed an early goal in the game and was given the Man of the Match in the 2-1 victory against Chelsea.
Sanchez was heading towards the upper echelon of soccer talents going into the 2017/18 season. Though after failed contract negotiations with Arsenal and continued attitude issues, the Gunners decided that they had to ship out their star before losing him for free come summertime. Sanchez forced a move to Manchester United midseason to collect the largest contract option put in front of him. The now infamous deal gave Sanchez around £26 million annually after photo rights and possible bonuses were met.
As Sanchez nears a loan move to Inter Milan, United will still supposedly pay a majority of the player’s wages for the current campaign. A reminder that this is a player set to play for another club in another country. Come June, Manchester United will have had to pay Sanchez around £54 million in total wages.
While he could have stayed in London and became an Arsenal legend, Sanchez clearly chose money instead. This decision isn’t even a particularly faulty option. Some players don’t care about trophies or their legacy to one particular team, nor do they owe fans or teams anything either.
At the time of his transfer to Manchester United, there were suggestions that he wanted to play in the Champions League. Arsenal were playing in the second-tiered Europa League at the time and United offered a chance to remain in the big competition. However, Sanchez made just four total starts for the Red Devils in Champions League play and he failed to score in any of these matches. United are also now currently playing a part in the Europa League competition as well.
In the end, he has won nothing at all during his spell at United. This is, of course, not considering a massive pay raise as ‘winning.’ Trophyless and now 30 years old, Sanchez will try to revive his career at Inter. It’s certainly possible that he can achieve something in Italy. Inter have a fantastic coach in Antonio Conte, as well as a solid squad. However, Sanchez will have to conjure up some of the magic that he previously produced during his time in north London to try to save his career.