Alexis Sanchez: Why the Chilean is not improving Manchester United
The summer of 2017 saw one of the biggest sagas' surrounding the future belonging to Alexis Sanchez and his contract while he was at Arsenal. When the Chile international signed for Manchester United during the January transfer window there was a feeling of relief for previous club Arsenal for having gotten something in return for their player who would have otherwise left for free.
Four games into his career at Old Trafford, it is very early to judge the man who became the highest earning player at the club, but judging by the start he has made, the team has certainly not settled with his introduction and the same can be said for the player himself.
Jose Mourinho has seen his team lose away to Tottenham and Newcastle most recently since the arrival of Sanchez. The club's new No. 7 has also been the reason behind the lacklustre performances by the team.
There looks to be a real problem currently. The work rate of Sanchez can never be in question. His tracking back and willingness to work to win the ball back is never in question. What has to be questioned is what role should Sanchez be playing and how can Mourinho bring a balance to this Manchester United team that includes Sanchez?
Against Newcastle and Tottenham, the number of times that Sanchez gave the ball away was way too much. His control of possession looked extremely clumsy, especially against Newcastle. When the player found himself in dangerous positions he was more wasteful than perhaps we are used to seeing from a player of such quality.
Sanchez was impressive against Huddersfield, scoring his only goal for the club thus far after a rebound from a poor penalty that Sanchez took himself. But playing slightly more centrally, he looked more industrious and got closer to Romelu Lukaku.
How is Sanchez affecting the team?
When Sanchez arrived from Arsenal in the straight swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan, one of the questions asked by fans and critics alike is where will Mourinho play him in this Manchester United team? Evidently, Mourinho looks to favour playing Sanchez off the left-hand side of attack, a move that has a knock-on effect on the players already at the club.
Anthony Martial has been shifted out to the right-hand side of the attack and to say the young Frenchman does not look happy is an understatement. Martial was playing well and scoring goals playing on the left side of the United attack before the signing of Sanchez. The long-term future of Martial has also certainly been cast into doubt as a result of Sanchez arriving at Old Trafford.
What about Marcus Rashford? One substitute appearance since Sanchez is not what is needed for the 20-year-old to continue his development. One of the biggest concerns for Manchester United and England fans, when Mourinho took the job at Old Trafford, was whether Rashford would get the opportunities to progress. At this stage, the concerns seem justified.
The influence of Sanchez in the Manchester United changing room should be massive given the experience and quality, but with Pogba at the club, there could be a potential clash of egos. Getting the best out of Pogba and Sanchez will be key to the success of Manchester United under Mourinho's leadership, but there seems to be a lack of balance in this team.
Playing Pogba as a holding midfielder alongside Matic is a massive risk, given his lack of defensive discipline. Martial playing from the right does not work; the Frenchman looks lost especially trying to work back. Lingard could be best-suited to playing from wide right, though Juan Mata is perhaps the best option the team has in that position.
Since Sanchez has joined the club, there are more problems for Mourinho to think about. The quality of Sanchez is not in question, but is his attitude and mentality correct for the team? The best may be yet to come from the winger but only time will tell about that.