Alexis Sanchez has reportedly spoken with his agent about leaving Manchester United as the Chilean forward reaches ‘the end of his tether’ with Jose Mourinho.
So say the S*n in a story that is easy for Arsenal fans to believe whether it is true or not.
We all know that Alexis loves to play and score and he’s struggling to do both this season. He’s yet to hit the back of the net, has scored only three goals since he left Arsenal, and finds himself being benched and subbed off in ways Arsene Wenger would never have dreamed of.
Still, it’s not like he can complain. Although Mourinho is using him out right when he’d prefer to be on the left, the striker earns £505kpw even if he has been a shadow of the player that shone at Arsenal before he went into a huff about not being allowed to join Manchester City.
While regular people cannot imagine what it must be like to bring home over £2m-a-month in wages, Alexis isn’t like the rest of the world. His universe consists of two things – playing football and his dogs.
Against Valencia, Alexis was subbed off for the fourth time in four games and we all remember how he took that when it happened (rarely) at Arsenal.
“He is totally fed up and at the end of his tether with Mourinho,” a source close to the player (code for the agent who doesn’t want to be named) told the redtop rag.
“The idea he was sold about his part in this team has not played out.
“He knows he can’t leave right now but is in talks with his agent about what they can do to try and sort the situation out.”
Alexis was dropped entirely for United’s last league game – their defeat at West Ham – and with United looking to avoid a fifth straight game without a win for the first time in 20 games, the pressure on Alexis and his manager couldn’t be greater ahead of their game against Newcastle United on Saturday.
There’s no denying that Alexis has struggled since leaving Arsenal. Last season, he endured his worst season since arriving in the Premier League in 2014 and his worst overall since he was just 21. 9 goals and 6 assists in 31 Premier League games is a remarkable drop from his stats the season before which saw him score 24 and assist 11 in 38.
Turning 30 in a few months, it’s hard to see how Alexis can be better than he was with Arsenal although, at this point, I’m sure most United fans would accept him simply being better than he is right now. He has just one assist to his name this season from six games.
But that might never happen.
There is a long history of players moving from Arsenal for greener pastures only to find themselves waist-deep in shit.
Thomas Vermaelen couldn’t resist the call of Barcelona in 2014. Similarly Alex Song and Alex Hleb. None of those players, however, had the talent of Alexis.
What then of Cesc Fabregas? Sure, he won some trophies but at the cost of his Arsenal legacy and life as a player no longer loved by any set of fans. Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, and Lassana Diarra are another few that spring to mind, but it is a long list.
Similarly, Robin van Persie, who is perhaps the closest Alexis example. He left Arsenal when he finally hit his peak, enjoyed one good season with United and then faded to nothing.
As I’ve mentioned before in other posts on here, including before Alexis moved, players who score more than 20 goals regularly are a very rare commodity and Alexis has never been in that bracket.
His 30-goal season for Arsenal was the best he’s ever had as a professional. Last season he should have built on that.
Instead, he spent half of it sulking about not being allowed to move to Manchester City and not making the World Cup. He switched off at Arsenal and hasn’t been able to restart himself at United.
Alexis is a player who wants to play every minute. Like a toddler having a tantrum, coaches have spoken about the frustration Alexis feels when he’s not playing. Given his current form, frustration is unlikely to do anything to help him or United.
Manchester United and their fans will hope they can still see the best of Alexis Sanchez but his past performances don’t hint at a player just waiting to burst out with 20 goals a season for the next three-and-a-bit years:
The biggest fear Arsenal fans had was that Alexis would go to United and do what Robin van Persie did. But they shouldn’t have worried. That outcome was always more unlikely than the Chilean having a relatively ordinary season punctuated with a sprinkling of magic moments.
At the minute, however, you get the feeling that United fans would take even that.
As for Arsenal, I can’t imagine for a second that they want to take him back but I have no problem at all believing Alexis regrets his choice.