Opinion: United's Sánchez move reeks of desperation, not destiny

Opinion: United's Sánchez move reeks of desperation, not destiny

If Manchester United want to sign any superstar available, Sánchez is a good move. If they want to compete with Manchester City, more planning may be needed.

Oliver Emmerson

Fans of Manchester United will rightly celebrate the signing of Alexis Sánchez, a world class player who improves their squad unquestionably. 

They've got the better of Manchester City, perhaps the only time they will this season, whilst luring a player to Old Trafford from a direct top four rival in Arsenal.

That they have done so through finances rather than fantasy isn't to be questioned regarding morals, it's the nature of the modern game. City are 12 points clear, they were always the more attractive option for a want-away player running down his contract.

United have got it done, to their credit, but at what cost on a logical level?

Waging war?

Ignoring the mammoth fee that will be paid to Sánchez's agent, the Chilean will reportedly receive a huge hike to the already impressive wages he is paid in London, reports suggesting he'll earn around £400,000 a week at Old Trafford, becoming United's top earner.

What's Paul Pogba's agent going to think about that? Will David de Gea be walking through the door at the next meeting regarding his contract negotiations, demanding to be put on parity with the new signing?

Never mind the rift that Sánchez has clearly caused in the Arsenal squad, as United throw another name into a shark pool of ego's that already contains Pogba, Mourinho and the self-proclaimed 'lion' that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

​Squad balance? Nah, you're alright

United supporters are championing the swap deal, gleeful that they get rid of an underperforming player in Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange for a proven performer in Sánchez.

But, was Mkhitaryan not a proven performer when he joined in 2016, coming off a record breaking season where he totted up over 50 goals and assists for Borussia Dortmund?

Is he simply another world class player that's failed to shine in a defensive based Jose Mourinho setup, following on from the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and even Andriy Shevchenko.

What's to suggest the same won't happen to a 29-year-old Sanchez, who has put his ageing body through four straight summer tournaments. 

There is always the chance that United will see him come good in the short term at least, previous evidence suggests he will. However, does it come at the expense of the development of an Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford?

That talented pair have already been left fighting it out for a place down the left hand side after the signing and re-signing of Lukaku and Ibrahimovic respectively. 

That begs the question over where Sánchez fits into the United team. Left-wing, ahead of Martial and Rashford? Perhaps up front, but then how do you accommodate Lukaku?

Who is playing right-wing in this team of strikers and left-wingers? The paceless Juan Mata, perhaps? Jesse Lingard could, but he's shown his best form this season through the middle.

If only United had an Armenian right-winger with a proven track record of goals and assists at the highest level.

Great signing, good strategy?

They've one-upped City, but have they strong-armed themselves?

Sánchez is a world class talent now, how long he stays at the top level remains to be seen. He'll be on those wages for years regardless.

United have the capability to catch City. They have the financial power, they have a talented group of players, some would suggest they have one of the few managers that has potential to out-do Pep Guardiola over the course of a season.

Do they have the strategy?

Is throwing money at it, snapping up any superstar that's going, the answer?

Mourinho will hope so, he seems to be struggling for other ideas.