Alexis Sanchez has revealed that he asked his agent if he could leave Manchester United and return to Arsenal after completing his first training session at the Red Devils. Sanchez posted a story on Instagram on Thursday to tell his side of the story of his failed transfer to Manchester United in 2018, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan head in the opposite direction.
The Chilean became one of the best paid players ever to play for United, but the forward never impressed at Old Trafford. He scored 5 goals in 45 appearances and suffered from many injuries. In the summer of 2019 he was moved to Internazionale on loan. He had a good season for the Italians, who then decided to sign Sanchez on a permanent deal with United agreeing to allow the forward to leave the club on a free transfer.
In the winter of 2018 Sanchez had hoped he would be joining Manchester City ahead of their city rivals United. However, his high wage demands ruled the Citizens out of the race. Now, two years later, Sanchez has revealed that he felt so shocked when he arrived at United’s first training, as he realised he had not thought his move through well enough.
“I accepted the opportunity to go to United, it felt tempting and it was something good for me, I liked this club a lot when I was a kid. Eventually I signed but I didn’t ask for information on what was happening inside the club. Sometimes there are things that you don’t realise until you get there, and I remember the first training session I had, I realised a lot of things.”
“After the session I got home and I told my family and my agent ‘can you not rip up the contract to go back to Arsenal?’. They laughed, I told them there’s something that doesn’t sit right, it doesn’t seem good. But I already signed, I was already there. After the first few months I carried on having the same feeling, we weren’t united as a team in that moment.”
With his transfer from Arsenal Sanchez became the highest paid player at United, increasing the expectations from the media. He now feels he became a scapegoat for the team’s failures. “I’m telling you my experience, the journalists at times would speak without knowing the facts and it hurt, they had no idea what was going on inside the club,” he said.
“They said it was my fault, and this, and that, but sometimes a player depends on the environment, the family that is created around him, and I think that in that moment we weren’t really a family. And that translated onto the pitch, and since there needed to be someone to blame, they blamed me.”
Upon his arrival at United Jose Mourinho was the head coach. The Portuguese kept faith in the Chilean in the first six months, but in his first full season he was dropped by Mourinho from the team and he never managed to get back into the team, even after Mourinho was sacked in November and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “I remember a game against West Ham, I wasn’t picked and that never happened during my career,” he added.
“That changed a lot, it really bothered me and that day I told myself that it couldn’t be possible to go from one of the best players in the Premier League to that in the space of five months. That bothered me a little, I got home and I was very sad for what happened, the next day I put in a double training session – as I’ve always been, I demand the best from myself in my job, I love what I do, I like football a lot.”