It’s funny how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was criticised for saying Alexis Sanchez would be back at Manchester United this summer, on the evidence so far he may have pushed things by claiming the Chilean will prove people wrong.
But on the face of it, the story appears to be as follows: “the player on loan has a bad time on loan so returns to his parent club.
Not much would be written or said about it were it not for the fact that it’s hard to build a case to suggest Sanchez isn’t the worst signing of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, and possibly a timescale stretching further back than that.
The economics of the deal that brought him from Arsenal to Manchester United in January 2018 were simply eye-watering, and become even more extreme when you consider he’s pulled on his red number seven shirt 45 times in that period – scoring just five goals.
An ankle injury at Inter Milan has limited his first-team opportunities there this season, with all roads seemingly pointing to the return to Old Trafford that Solskjaer has spoken about.
United right now is a very different place to be, even compared to the club that Sanchez left to join Inter on loan last season.
I know Solskjaer himself considers his players are on a long journey and the destination is still some way off, but the mood has changed for the better.
What Sanchez had to deal with first time round was the expectations that came with his signing and the money wrapped up in it, he had to contend with the manager who’d brought him to the club (Jose Mourinho) leaving, and a new boss with new ideas.