Alexis Sanchez signs for Man Utd in swap deal with Mkhitaryan

Monday 22nd January , 2018 6:15 pm

Manchester United have signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, in a swap deal with midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Chile forward Sanchez, 29, who almost joined Manchester City last summer, has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal.

City decided earlier this month that they would not pursue their interest in him as they felt making him their best-paid player may affect team morale.

Mkhitaryan, 29, moves in the opposite direction to Sanchez after scoring 13 goals in 63 appearances for United.

The Armenia international moved to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund for £26.3m in July 2016.

He has made only 10 Premier League starts this season and it is understood there was a breakdown in trust with Mourinho, who has made Sanchez his first signing of the January transfer window.

Alexis Sanchez last season compared to this season
Alexis Sanchez has had less of an impact at Arsenal this season

How did it come to this?

Sanchez, who is set to receive a reported salary of £500,000 a week at United and will wear the number seven jersey, was announced by the club Twitter account with him playing ‘Glory, Glory Man Utd’ on a piano.

He has scored 80 goals for the Gunners since joining from Barcelona for £30m in July 2014, and was last season’s top scorer with 30 goals in all competitions.

The Chilean almost teamed up with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola in a £60m move last summer but that deadline-day deal collapsed when Arsenal failed to sign Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar.

Since that move did not materialise, Sanchez has had less of an impact, scoring 0.37 goals per game compared to 0.63 last season, with several pundits commenting on his on-field demeanour.

Former Gunners striker Ian Wright said in December that Sanchez looked as though he had “clocked off”.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger denied there was a rift between Sanchez and his team-mates, but admitted the uncertainty over his future has affected team morale.

And, with his contract at Arsenal due to expire at the end of the season – when he would be available on a free transfer, United have moved in.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan made an inauspicious start at United, being substituted at half-time of his full debut against Manchester City in September 2016

Mkhitaryan ends underwhelming United spell

Mkhitaryan, who has scored once and contributed five assists in 15 Premier League appearances this season, joined United when Mourinho pipped Wenger to sign him.

His last appearance was in the FA Cup third-round win over Derby on 5 January, and he was left out of subsequent Premier League matches against Stoke and Burnley.

In November, Mourinho said Mkhitaryan’s performances had been “decreasing step by step”.

Mkhitaryan made a modest start to his United career and did not start a Premier League game in almost three months after he was substituted at half-time during his full debut against Manchester City.

Yet his form improved during the second half of last season and he scored as United beat Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm in May.

Before he moved to Old Trafford, the Armenia captain was the 2015-16 Bundesliga player of the season, and scored 23 goals in all competitions

Source: BBC Sport