Alexis Sanchez has put pen to paper on a deal with Manchester United, in a straight swap deal which sends Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the opposite direction.
Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United was finalized on Monday, in one of the biggest deals ever to be completed in the January transfer window.
The Chilean winger was once again heavily linked with a move to United’s close neighbours Manchester City, after he came close to a £60m move to the Citizens in the last summer transfer window, only for the move to fall through after Arsenal failed to secure a replacement.
Arsenal looked to get something in return for their former star player, and they have got just that in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Despite the Gunners receiving no transfer fee, they would have lost Sanchez for nothing in the summer due to him failing to extend his contract at The Emirates.
Most teams would rather not lose one of their best players halfway through the season, with most preferring to wait until the summer instead. But given the circumstances, it’s no surprise Arsene Wenger wanted to go ahead with the deal, especially because they were getting a top-class player in return.
The last time United made a big name signing in the January transfer window was Juan Mata, who has been an asset to the Red Devils ever since. So with Sanchez, they have certainly got themselves an incredible player. The same goes for Arsenal too, as despite his inconsistencies, Mkhitaryan has proven what he’s capable of in the past.
Just The Player United Need
Manchester United have been abysmal at best during points of the season. They started off brilliantly, with crucial wins sending them to second position in the Premier League table.
But since then, a series of underwhelming performances, including a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Premier League new boys Huddersfield, have seen the Red Devils fail to keep up with Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men are currently enjoying a twelve point gap at the top of the table, and despite a 4-3 defeat away at Liverpool recently, they are showing no signs of slowing down with just 14 league games left until the end of the season.
The Red Devils still sit in second position, but Mourinho no doubt needed to bolster his attacking options after the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan failed to hit the mark in terms of their performances and goal return.
Sanchez will provide Mourinho’s team with a much-needed boost, and will provide support up front that should see United’s frontline improved considerably with a player with the calibre of Sanchez, who previously starred not only for Arsenal, but also at Barcelona and Udinese too.
New Beginnings For Mkhitaryan
It’s safe to say that Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a somewhat mixed bag in terms of his Manchester United experience.
Signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2016, he started off his Manchester United career with a series of inconsistent performances, much to the frustration of United boss Jose Mourinho, who is known to publicly criticize his players.
Consequently, Mkhitaryan was dropped from the first team for some time. He made a return to the first team after a long injury outlay, and began to regain his spot in the starting line up, making several appearances for the rest of the 2016-17 league campaign.
At the start of the 2017-18 Premier League season, Mkhitaryan started to fire off on all cylinders, providing numerous assists as United started off their league campaign in style.
However, Henrikh Mkhitaryan unfortunately failed to live up to the hype he produced at former club Borussia Dortmund, where he won player of the season in the 2015-16 Bundesliga season. Ultimately, this led to his demise with the Red Devils, despite his immense potential.
But now, he has another chance to prove himself in the Premier League, only this time with Arsene Wenger’s Gunners. If we see glimpses of his best appearances at Man Utd and Borrusia Dortmund, then he’ll no doubt be an asset to Arsenal. However, he certainly has a lot to live up to after the departure of Alexis Sanchez.
Both United and Arsenal have got themselves a good deal here, with both players having undeniable talent.
The last time the two clubs did business, United were sold Robin Van Persie for a remarkably cheap £24m – a bargain by today’s standards.
Will Sanchez repeat history and become a success at Old Trafford? and will Henrikh Mkhitaryan flourish at The Emirates? Only time will tell, but I for one am excited to see how they both perform.