The Scouting Report: 'Wonder Boy' that has caught Ferguson's attention

Alexis Sanchez, Chile
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The Independent Football

Nobody does footballing nicknames quite like the South Americans, so when a player arrives with a moniker like "The Wonder Boy" it is worth keeping an eye on him. Alexis Sanchez is very much the prototype of a South American attacker, too; squat, elusive, with a marked change of pace and willingness to run at a defence. He will be watched as closely from the stands by a number of potential employers as by a wary Honduran defence in Nelspruit today.

The Chilean is only 21 but is already playing in a third country, having spent a season in Argentina with River Plate before joining Udinese in 2008. It is his performances in Serie A, a tough environment for a young, creative player a long way from home, that have drawn the attention of a number of leading European clubs, with Sir Alex Ferguson among his admirers.

While he can play as a striker he is more often used by Marcelo Bielsa, Chile's manager, wide on the left but with the freedom to come inside on to his favoured right foot. He is at his best around the box, fashioning openings for others with quick feet and an eye for a reverse pass and has struck up a productive partnership with Humberto Suazo, Chile's sharp front man and the top scorer in South American qualifying.

It was at the Under-20 World Cup in Canada three years ago that Sanchez first caught the eye, but he will hope for a happier ending. After Chile were controversially beaten in the semi-finals by Argentina, Sanchez was on the receiving end of a pepper spraying as local police sought to protect the referee from a furious losing side.

Information provided exclusively by The Scouting Network, a specialist agency which provides information for the leading clubs in Europe