Manchester United fans haven’t taken long to turn on Alexis Sanchez and when Rio Ferdinand had a dig at the player for looking like a stranger in his new side, they agreed.

1I don’t like to say I told you so but…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United looks despondent during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Manchester United and Sevilla FC at Old Trafford on March 13, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“When he was at Arsenal, he was the man everyone looked at for motivation,” Ferdinand said after watching United limp out of the Champions League. “He looks like a stranger in this team.”

As he left for United, many of their fans thought Arsenal fans were just being bitter as they highlighted the numerous problems with Alexis Sanchez. Sure, he’s a brilliant player when it’s going his way, but he is not a team player and is one of the most wasteful ‘top’ players in the game today.

It’s easy to ignore many of these negatives, however, when he’s banging in goals for your team but this season those have dried up and the reasons are not all to do with Arsenal.

Chile failing to make the World Cup in Russia seemed to hit him particularly hard and has certainly had an affect on his season. But when it was looking like he was on his way out the door, I pondered if the club buying him would get value for money with his signing.

Strikers who score 20+ goals a season regularly are few and far between. Those that do tend to be at clubs like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez had already been at Barcelona and they had deemed him not good enough.

Alexis has never been one of those players. Before last season’s 24 league goals, his highest goal tally in a campaign was 19 (Barcelona, 13/14). Then 16 (Arsenal, 14/15), 13 (Arsenal, 15/16), and 12 (Barcelona, 11/12, Udinese, 10/11). That’s seven seasons Alexis has made double figures for league goals but only three above 15 and one above 20.

For a player whose game is based on speed and the ability to move his body quickly, he is not likely to be a fine wine that gets better with age.

Jose Mourinho was right when he said moving mid-season has also affected Alexis. That was bound to be the case, at least to some degree. But if Arsenal were such a burden on him, the act of leaving should have freed him up to perform better.

It hasn’t.

Alexis will improve. He’s a better player than we’ve seen from him this season. But the flaws that were in his game at Arsenal, and formed part of the reason Barcelona let him go, will remain. Goals make those flaws acceptable, but Alexis turns 30 in the middle of next season.

In the meantime, he’s gone from a team where he was the main man to another name in a star-studded side. He likes to feel valuable and that’s not the impression you get when you read what many United fans are saying about him. It’s doubtful they feel like making idiots of themselves by producing a banner for Alexis’s dogs any time soon.

Click next to read some of the best responses to Ferdinand’s quote from United fans on their Reddit forum:

Back
Previous articleTuchel a ‘hot candidate’ for Arsenal but Arsenal’s indecision is a shambles
Next articleWenger names 4 teams that make this year’s Europa League so strong
Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.