Alexis Sanchez’s Manchester United nightmare is set to be over permanently, after the club agreed a deal with Inter Milan to turn his loan deal permanent.
The Chilean forward signed for the club in January 2018 but scored just four times in his 18 month spell at the club before being loaned out for the entirety of last season. The player signed a huge deal, making him the highest-paid player in the club’s history but never managed to settle after his move from Arsenal.
After suffering with injuries and with Ole Gunnar Solskjær deciding to go in a different direction, Sanchez joined former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte at Inter where he had a rather underwhelming season compared to his previous standards. Prior to lockdown, Sanchez had just one goal and two assists during his time at Inter where he was mainly seen as the back-up to Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku in the striker positions.
An ankle injury saw him miss a large chunk of the campaign and following lockdown he became a key player as Conte preferred him to Martinez and he managed to score three times plus add another seven assists in the 14 games he featured in.
The club were keen to keep him around for the completion of the Europa League tournament but with Manchester United unwilling to extend the loan without an agreement in place for a permanent move, the Italian side have acted quickly to get a deal done.
Originally expected to pay a fee of around €15million, it’s reported by the highly reliable Gianluca Di Marzio that Manchester United have agreed to let him leave without a transfer fee as Inter Milan have agreed to pay him his current wage of around £390,000 per week for the first year of a three year contract so United can remove him from their books entirely.
With all parties satisfied by the deal now, Sanchez will look to revitalise his career one last time in Serie A and hope to push Inter Milan one step closer to the title next season as they missed out to Juventus by just a single point this year.
Watching Sanchez post-lockdown showed that he seems to have adapted his style slightly to cope more with his ageing body. While he used to be purely physical with lots of explosiveness and trickery, he’s now become a lot more efficient with his play. He doesn’t charge around aimlessly pressing anymore and he takes care of the ball more instead of constantly looking to force something that isn’t there.
With a slower pace in Serie A, Sanchez’s new style is more suited to it and with Conte’s system playing him centrally he is closer to goal where he likes to be. Much like Lukaku’s move to Inter last summer, this seems to be a rare deal that suits everyone equally. United want him off the books, Sanchez wants to go and Inter are willing to do the deal.
As a football fan, I hope we can see Sanchez back at his best at for at least one more season because during his prime he was one of the best players on the planet. Best of luck Alexis, thanks for that afternoon at the Etihad that time.