Manchester United have had an incredibly turbulent season with it coming to a head in late December when Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties.
Club legend and former centre forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in to take over on a temporary basis and has done a miraculous job in turning fortunes around for the Red Devils.
So much so that he is set to be appointed the club’s next permanent manager, priced at 1/10 with most UK bookmakers.
The Norwegian coach has only lost once in the Premier League, most recently against Arsenal, and avenged his one previous defeat against Paris Saint-Germain with a spectacular comeback in the French capital to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
As well as the good results and feel good factor around Old Trafford, Solskjaer has shown his expertise in promoting a healthy attitude from the players and showing their willingness to fight for the club to the fans.
Under Mourinho, the players had become stale and the fans’ perceptions of them were not pleasant; but Solskjaer has now changed that and reinvigorated this squad.
The likes of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and many others’ performances have increased tenfold, as well as their consistency in the pressurised matches.
Man Utd’s Weak Link
However, one player has not come to the fore as many would have hoped.
Alexis Sanchez has been a Manchester United players for 14 months now and shown very little promise of his former level at Arsenal.
The once prolific goal-scorer now looks incredibly shy and timid on the pitch, with little confidence emanating from the Chile international. So much so that he is 6/1 with BetVictor to leave the Red Devils in the summer and join any Italian club, and the same price to sign for a La Liga outfit.
When Man United beat their across-town rivals to the signature of the Chilean, there was pure excitement and a sense of anticipation reverberating around Old Trafford.
Transfer Focus: Alexis Sanchez ‘desperate’ to leave Manchester United pic.twitter.com/7pR1d0JElI— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) March 12, 2019
A world-class player had opted to join Mourinho – albeit for a lot of money – which could give the club the much-desired firepower up front that they desperately longed for.
The niggling injuries that Sanchez has suffered have evidently not helped, which has prevented him from building up momentum and match rhythm in a United jersey.
There have been small glimpses of what the Chile international can offer – such as his important goals in the bigger matches – but his inconsistency and regression over 2018 has been too noticeable to ignore.
With Manchester United heading down a path that focuses on youth players and academy graduates, Solskjaer might just view Sanchez as a burden on the pitch as well as one off it.
Alexis Sanchez’s Wages a Burden
The reported £500,000-per-week wages are setting a precedent they want to avoid for their elite players.
For a bit-part player that has had little impact since arriving, as well as taking up a position in the squad which can be used to blood one of the youngsters coming through, Sanchez is yet to justify the enormous pay-packet.
As seen in the club’s biggest game of the season and a real audition to land the full-time job, Solskjaer trusted his judgement and brought Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood on, two academy players that made an impact.
Although Sanchez was ruled out of the match, it showed the Norwegian’s ambitions in blooding youth and, most importantly, trusting his instincts.
Alexis Sanchez’s Club Record In Europe
Confidence plays a massive part in football and for one reason or another, Sanchez looks riddled with self-doubt when crossing the whitewash.
It is sad to see, given what the masses have witnessed at Arsenal and Barcelona beforehand, but there has to be a time when Manchester United say enough is enough and make the emotionless decision of trying to move the Chilean on.
Sanchez will most certainly have to take a pay cut as no club is likely to splash out the type of astronomical wages he is on now, but there is still plenty of time in his career to get back to what he does best: scoring goals.
It would also signify the end of Man United’s reckless spending with Solskjaer offering a more delicate and thoughtful approach.