Sanchez to Manchester United, Mkhitaryan to Arsenal – who got the better deal?
By Jide Alaka
The transfer saga that has led the January transfer window was finally put to bed on Monday.
Manchester United got Alexis Sanchez while Arsenal got Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a straight swap, but which of these teams got the better deal?
Firstly, the two unveilings revealed which team was more prepared to receive. Manchester United released a video of Sanchez on a grand piano with the iconic No.7 while Mkhitaryan was spotted looking not so happy with a numberless jersey.
For all the posturing, Arsene Wenger does not know immediately where the Armenian midfielder will fit into whereas you can be sure that Sanchez will go straight into United’s team, relieving Juan Mata of his place on the right flank.
Technically, what do these two players have to offer their new teams?
Sanchez is a leader
One of the reasons why Sanchez left Arsenal is because the team was rudderless, stranded in mid-table mediocrity under a manager who seems to have lost the will to win. Leaders supposedly don’t settle for crumbs and at 29, Sanchez wants to leave the game in a blaze of glory. After Chile failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the forward must have told himself – ‘find a team where you can influence a trophy-winning run’.
Sanchez is unpredictable
There are so many sides to the Chilean’s game that will benefit Mourinho and United. Against Burnley last weekend, United huffed and puffed for a 1-0 win because Burnley were ready with a game plan. In Sanchez, United have recruited a player who can spark a fire that will burn in different directions. He can’t be shoehorned into any corner because he plays the game on instinct.
Sanchez offers goals and assists
Over the past three seasons, the Chilean is fourth in the EPL’s goal scoring column and No.1 for creating chances and assists. He shoots from long range; he can accomplish intricate passing movements, score tap-ins – he can do the lot.
Lets we forget, we hear he is on an excess of £500,000 a week, which would make a comfortable retirement plan.
Mkhitaryan will add to Arsenal’s defensive woes
If the Gunners are complaining of an imbalance in their play whenever Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey play together in midfield then they are in for more complaints, as the Armenian is not renowned for his tackling. On getting Mkhitaryan, Wenger revealed he was thinking of playing him with Ozil in the same line-up, which means their offensive impetus, will increase but at the same time, they will be weaker defensively.
Mkhitaryan seems a replacement for the departing Ozil
If one looks at the likely departure of Ozil [maybe to United], one can only presume Wenger has got a replacement that may have cost Arsenal between 80 and 100 million Pounds Sterling in the summer. The German midfielder could also have been sold in the January window but Wenger is adamant that he prefers that his contract run out.
Mkhitaryan does not disrupt Wenger’s plans
The way Wenger sees the game is probably the same view Mkhitaryan holds – play the game as beautifully as possible – the trophies and titles are an aside. You will not see the Armenian giving away a technical foul to stop an opponent from scoring though he will do his best to mark. All he desires is playing ‘wow’ football for the fans to gush about. For this, they have the right player.
What this Arsenal team genuinely needs is a leader that would stay consistent on the pitch and not let standards drop. In Mkhitaryan, they definitely do not have this kind of player.
So, who got the better deal? Definitely, Mourinho’s United did! Can they catch Manchester City? I don’t think so.