Europe's most wanted man: Alexis Sanchez
Udinese Football club may not be a football powerhouse but the club is flying high in the Serie A at the moment, thanks to some of the talented players that ply their trade with the northern Italian club who have caught the eyes of the watching world but are bound to move to bigger European sides in the coming seasons. One of those talented players is Chile’s Alexis Alejandro Sanchez. The 22-year old has got European powerhouses like Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter Milan drooling over him for some time now and the football pundits feel the coming summer could be the time when Sanchez gets to showcase his talents for a bigger club compared to Udinese.
Sunday’s 7-0 hammering of Palermo in the Serie A by Udinese brought out the best in Alexis Sanchez’s abilities as a footballers and booked him a berth with history making him only the twelfth man in Serie A history in the past 20 years to have scored 4 goals in a single match. In the historic victory, Sanchez underlined his credentials as a much sought after footballer and helped his stock soar across the continent.
EARLY FOOTBALL LIFE
Having started his career with Cobreloa in Chile, Sanchez proved to be a special talent in the whole of Chile and his progress was never missed by European scouts. After spending a year and a half with the Chilean side and having scored nine goals in forty seven appearances, Udinese offered to sign the then 17-year old for a price of US$3 million on April, 2006. Nicknamed ‘El Nino Maravilla’, Sanchez was allowed to stay in South America by the Italian side to develop further as a player and as a human being. The then Chilean champions Colo Colo signed the young Chilean international after paying Udinese Calcio US$ 150,000 for a season’s loan until 2007. After impressing in the Clausura and Apertura tournaments of Liga Chilena, Argentina’s River Plate signed him in the winter of 2007, again on loan, until June 2008. Sanchez went on to win the 2008 Torneo Clausura with River Plate, he then announced his arrival in world football in the 2008 Copa Revancha final(a friendly tournament) against arch rivals Boca Juniors when he dribbled past all five players of the Boca Juniors defense only to be tackled in the penalty box, thus winning a crucial penalty. Ariel Ortega scored the penalty and River went on to win the tie 3-2. Throughout his time with River, Alexis Sanchez’s game developed under the proper guidance of coach Diego Simeone who was clearly impressed with what he saw in Sanchez’s trickery from close quarters. The young Chilean moved to Italy permanently after completing his loan spell with both Colo Colo and River Plate.
At the young age of seventeen, Sanchez has played for the Chilean National team on several different occasions. He debuted when the international team took on Universidad Catolica. His international debut was in a 1-0 win against New Zealand in Chile on 27 April, 2006.
Prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, the Chilean National Team went on a tour in Europe playing three friendlies. They played Ireland, Cote d’Ivoire, and Sweden. Sanchez played significant minutes in all three games impressing scouts.
Despite scoring only one goal in the 2007 South American Youth Championship, Sánchez proved to be a vital part of the Chilean national team that went on to qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. During the tournament Sánchez had numerous chances and created opportunities for others.
In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Sanchez played all of Chile’s three games, impressing many and proving vital in Chile’s attacking system. He provided the crucial assist to Rodrigo Millar in the latter’s goal against eventual champions Spain. Overall, the Udinese man has scored eleven international goals in thirty two matches for Chile.
LIFE AT UDINESE AND THE FUTURE
According to the Udinese President Giampaolo Pozzo, Alexis Sanchez has committed himself to the club and in 2010, a big money move to Turkish side Galatasaray was rejected by both Sanchez and the Udinese Calcio boardroom. Yet Sanchez’s sensational performances week in week out have raised the eyebrows of Europe’s elite club scouts and rumours are such that Sir Alex Ferguson’s next superstar after Cristiano Ronaldo would be the diminutive 5ft6in winger/forward. Latest news suggest that an unnamed club has tabled a 35million pound transfer bid in the close season for the Chilean making him the most prized asset in the whole of Italy. With his lightning pace, gifted finishing, exquisite technique, Alexis Sanchez could be in the middle of a high value transfer war come the summer and Premier League fans can keep their fingers crossed to watch this sensational South American cast his spell across the length and breadth of England.