The Chile international has been unable to recapture the form he showed for Arsenal during his time at Old Trafford after his arrival in January 2018
Rio Ferdinand fears Alexis Sanchez will not salvage his career at Manchester United, after admitting the club’s highest paid player may be a spent force at the highest level of the game.
Sanchez arrived at Old Trafford from Arsenal amid a fanfare of publicity in January 2018, but the Chile international has failed to find his spark since inheriting the fabled No.7 jersey, with Old Trafford legend Ferdinand telling Goal that the sands of time may be catching up with him at the age of 30.
Interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has succeeded in inspiring a sparkling revival in the form of a host of Man Utd players such as Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford since he succeeded Jose Mourinho in December, but BT Sport pundit Ferdinand feels that Sanchez’s slump in form will not be so easy to address.
“There are a lot of miles on the clock,” he said. “That’s one big thing, he has played a lot of games at the top level There is no doubting he is a fantastic footballer, but at Man United, it just doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone into Man United and got some players working, got some players playing. Lindelof looks a different player now. He is first on the team-sheet in that back four now. Pogba, the most influential players in the Premier League since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went there, barring probably [Heung-min] Son at Tottenham.
“Marcus Rashford looks like the player that everyone believed he could be for United, but Sanchez he hasn’t been able to unlock that code yet, but you can’t expect a manager to go in an unlock every code on every player. He’s done what he can at the moment, but Sanchez is still searching for that form.”
While Sanchez has continued to flounder since Mourinho’s sacking, United’s record signing Pogba has flourished under Solskjaer’s leadership, with Ferdinand suggesting the critics who wrote off the French World Cup winner were misguided.
“It wasn’t about him not trying hard enough,” said Ferdinand, as he reflected on a first half of the season that saw Pogba lose his way after persistent reports of a bust-up with manager Jose Mourinho.
“Play the players in their best positions and you get the best results, simple as that. Everyone says he can’t defend, but people always look for what he can’t do. Why not look for what he can do.
“He is great at starting passages of play, he’s great at playing that final pass and the asset for a goal, he’s great at getting on the end of things. That’s what he’s doing now. If you compare how times he runs into the box to how many times he did that before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived, it would be very different.
“That tells you why he getting goals, why he is getting shots on target, why he is getting assists, why he is being effective in the final third. It’s not rocket science what he’s doing now.
“Paul Pogba is a leader and he is going to warm into that role in the coming years under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”
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