The date was 22nd January, 2018.
United fans had just been treated to an excellent piano performance from Alexis Sanchez in his unveiling as a United player. Who could have foretold that would be his best performance in a United shirt?
After three and a half hugely successful years with Arsenal – statistically – where Sanchez scored 80 goals and laid on 45 assists in 166 outings, Sanchez felt it was time to leave Arsenal and join a club that can challenge for the Premier League title.
It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. An already established Premier League superstar and the most successful club in the Premier League.
United weren’t precisely flying in the league but they were doing very well and were in a respectable 2nd place, albeit, 14 points behind Manchester City.
But what would follow would be so shocking.
In the remainder of the 2017/18 season, He scores twice in 12 league appearances for United. An average of a goal every six games. That would drop even more drastically in 2018/19 as he found the net just once in 20 games.
In the champions league, Sanchez played a total of 6 games for United and didn’t find the net once.
In the FA Cup, he played 7 games across the 1 and a half season he spent at united, scoring twice and assisting 3. 2 of those assists came on his very first game for United.
In total, Alexis played 45 times for the Old Trafford side and scored just 5 times, an average of 0.1 goals per game. He finds the net once every 9 games.
He also provided 9 assists for his teammates, an assist every 5 games.
His woes weren’t just showing in his statistical output, he also looked devoid of confidence. In United’s Champions League round of 16 game against PSG at Old Trafford, Sanchez was unable to control so many simple passes after replacing the injured Anthony Martial at half time.
In a comeback Premier League win against Southampton at Old Trafford, Sanchez was having an awful game until he got off injured in the early periods of the 2nd half. 20 year old Diogo Dalot came on to change the game and the commentator said Dalot’s 20 minutes in the game was far more than Sanchez’s full season.
His huge wages meant United found it difficult to negotiate contracts with teammates who were playing better than him. Rashford and De Gea comes to mind.
There was also a sort of division in the dressing room about the club’s highest earner not justifying his wages. This led Solskjaer to send him out on loan despite United being in shortage of attackers.
His early days at Inter were somewhat Bizarre. He scored and assisted in a Serie A game and got sent off in the same game. He also got injured and this limited his playing time. It was as though he would be returning to United after all.
But after the lock down, Sanchez came back rejuvenated and producing consistent decent performances and delivered crucial goals and assists in Inter’s end of season run-in.
Inter are happy to make the deal permanent and United are even happier to let him go on a free. This would save them €20 million next season.
The willingness with which both parties cut ties is that of a couple breaking a marriage whose match was made in hell.