Alexis Sanchez has left Manchester United. The Chilean forward has joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan.
Sanchez’s unhappy 18-month spell at Old Trafford came to an end earlier this week when United sanctioned a temporary move to the Italian giants.
When he joined United as part of a swap deal that saw Henrik Mkhitaryan sign for Arsenal, Sanchez was meant to be the player that would help them close the gap to Manchester City.
Instead, he became a symbol of the club’s deeply flawed transfer policy and short-term approach.
After scoring just five goals in 45 appearances, United have decided they have no place for him at the club. However, they will continue to pay 40 per cent of Sanchez’s salary – which will work out at around €6.63m for the season. There is also no obligation for Inter to sign him on a permanent deal at the end of the campaign.
According to a report in the Athletic, the 30-year-old was desperate to leave Old Trafford – so much so, that he was willing to take a pay-cut. It appears that some of his former teammates were just as happy to see him depart.
The report states that Sanchez’s salary bred resentment amongst the squad, as he was paid 30 per cent more than the club’s next highest earner. This had an adverse effect on contract negotiations with David de Gea.
The report also states that Sanchez’s salary – worth over €600,000 a week when add-ons were included – was raised in every contract negotiation with the club. Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, argued that his client was underpaid in comparison to the former Barcelona forward. Ander Herrera left United for Paris Saint-Germain after the club failed to sanction a wage increase.
It sounds as though Sanchez also failed to integrate at Old Trafford. He reportedly did not make much effort to socialise with his teammates – expect Romelu Lukaku, who joined Inter this summer on a permanent deal.
The Chilean was an isolated figure at Arsenal too, but in a tense dressing room at United – where Jose Mourinho and several key players were not getting along – Sanchez’s presence exasperated the situation.
According to The Athletic, the former United coach mentioned Sanchez’s “extortionate wage package” twice – once in front of his teammates – in an attempt to provoke a reaction from the player.
Mourinho is said to have referred to Sanchez as “Chileno” rather than by his name.
It sounds like a parting of the ways suits all parties, even if United are now short of forward players and are still paying a hefty chunk of his salary.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told reporters on Friday that he expects to see Sanchez return to Old Trafford, that the move was sanctioned so the player could get regular football.
“We have just got to hope that he plays regular football for a year now and then he can find his form,” he said.
“I had a chat with him and for me, if I can’t guarantee regular football for Alexis Sanchez it is better for the two of us that he goes and plays in Italy and shows us what we know he is capable of.”