Alexis Sanchez wanted to leave Manchester United and return to Arsenal after just one day of training

The Chilean ended his successful spell with Arsenal to move to Old Trafford, only to endure a nightmare stay with the club and leave for Inter Milan

Karl Matchett
Friday 04 September 2020 11:48
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Alexis Sanchez has issued an extraordinarily honest assessment of his time at Manchester United, suggesting a poor atmosphere around the club made him want to leave immediately and was partly to blame for his woes.

The Chile international enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Arsenal, becoming one of the most-feared attackers in the Premier League, before his move north in January 2018 to join United.

He previously had the chance to join Manchester City, which was his initial preference, but Sanchez revealed the move fell through for “football reasons” and he was left with United, which also appealed at the time.

But matters quickly went south as he realised it was not the environment he had been expecting, while he says off-field matters didn’t help either.

“I wanted to talk a little about my time about United, about things they said which make me feel bad and speak a bit about my experiences in that club,” he said in a video on Instagram.

“Before moving, I had an agreement with Manchester City but for football reasons it didn’t go through.

“The chance to go to United came, I liked them very much as a child and in the end I signed without knowing too much about what went on inside the club.

“There are things you don’t know about until you’re there. I remember the first training session I realised many things and after the training session I spoke to my family and my agent and asked to rescind the contract to return to Arsenal.

“They laughed, but I said there was something which wasn’t right. But it was all signed and I was already there.

“After a few months I had the same feeling, we weren’t together, we weren’t a team.”

Alexis says the media and former United players who criticised him spoke without “knowing anything about inside the club,” suggesting that they blamed him for poor performances.

In reality, he says the disconnect between players within the club meant they weren’t a single unit, which has been a feature in most clubs he has played for and been successful: Udinese, Barcelona, Arsenal, the Chile national team.

Matters came to a head when he was dropped against West Ham by Jose Mourinho, which led Alexis to ask Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, when he arrived, for an exit.

“Sometimes when I didn’t play, or played 20-30 minutes, the fault was always someone’s [mine]. I also self-criticise, you have to play the best you can. I also had injuries at that time, I wasn’t happy.

“Against West Ham I was dropped. It had never happened before as a player and it hurt and bothered me a lot.

Alexis Sanchez training at Manchester United 

“I thought ‘this can’t be possible, going from one of the best in the Premier League to five months later not even getting changed [for the match].’

“I was sad at home and the next day I trained a double session as I always do.

“The next coach arrived, the current one, and I spoke with him to say ‘I think I need to change scenery, that I have the opportunity to go to Inter.’ He said ‘no problem,’ and I went.”

Alexis finished by expressing “words of gratitude” at having had the “chance to represent the shirt” and reiterated that although “it hurt me a lot that things didn’t go the way I wanted”, he felt the atmosphere needed to be more “like a family” for on-pitch matters to improve.

Now at Inter Milan on a permanent deal, the forward thanked the fans and said he hoped they could appreciate his reasons for the message – and as he has already had a more significant impact over in Italy, perhaps his words will carry significant weight.

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