Since swapping shirts with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Chilean scored just five goals in 45 games/18 months and the £20m price United were reportedly asking in the summer highlights just how low his stock has fallen.
When he left Arsenal in January 2018, I wondered if Arsenal had managed to get the best out of an ageing player who had never really had a proper break from playing nor yet suffered any consequences for that.
Just two months after his move I spoke about how his problems at United were unlikely to get better.
As he left for United, many of their fans thought we were just being bitter as we highlighted the numerous problems with Alexis Sanchez’s game and attitude. 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.
Chile failing to make the World Cup in Russia seemed to hit him particularly hard and certainly had an affect on the following season. But when it looked like he was on his way out the door, I pondered if the club buying him would get value for money with his signing.
Forwards who regularly score 20+ goals a season are few and far between. Those that do tend to be at clubs like Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Alexis has already been at Barcelona and they had deemed him not good enough.
Alexis has never been one of those players, anyway.
Before his 16/17 season tally of 24 league goals, his highest total 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 were above 15 and one above 20.
For a player whose game is based on speed and the ability to move his body quickly, he was never going to be a fine wine that got better with age.
For the record, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who didn’t have the best time at Arsenal after his move in the opposite direction, played 59 games to Alexis’s 45, scoring 9 and assisting 13 to Alexis’s 5/9.
If there was a winner in this deal, it was Arsenal who got a slightly better player while ridding themselves of a giant manbaby who wanted an extortionate amount of money.
But really, has there ever been a worse swap than this?
This article was first published on 26 August 2019 and has been updated ahead of Arsenal’s match at Old Trafford on Monday night.