Alexis Sanchez latest: How Manchester United can line up if they beat City to Arsenal forward

Manchester United are growing in confidence that Alexis Sanchez will be moving to the red side of the city rather than the blue side this January with every hour that passes.

Manchester City indicated they were ready to move on from the Arsenal man – even if it meant him going to Old Trafford.

But where would Sanchez fit in under Jose Mourinho? The Independent takes a look…

Premier League transfer round up 12th January: Manchester clubs battle over Sanchez

Central striker

After the majority of his career spend coming in from wide, Sanchez was deployed as a centre forward by Arsene Wenger and enjoyed his most fruitful season to date in from of goal as he smashed in a return of 24 goals in the Premier League.

With Romelu Lukaku struggling with form at the moment and in dire need of a rest, Sanchez could be what United need up top. He would also form a counter attack that would rival Liverpool’s for sheer pace, with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard surrounding him.

However, it would have to be either him or Lukaku, as it is unlikely to two would be able to work together, as shown by the Belgian’s difficulty with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And dropping him into a No 10 with Lukaku position may blunt one of the sharpest weapons in his armoury of running at defenders.

Wide left

His natural position, and the position where he has played some of his best football and became a stand-out star in the Premier League, following his move from Barcelona. It is not his best position in terms of goals, having scored 16, 13 and seven (so far this season), but arguably his most dangerous as it allows him to run at defenders and fire in crosses.

While Lukaku may not benefit from Sanchez as a strike partner, here is a position he would benefit from with the Chilean dinking in crosses that the likes of Olivier Giroud has gobbled up at Arsenal. This position causes managers to have to double up on him – usually a central midfielder – which in turn would create space for Paul Pogba to do some damage from the central areas.

Wide left, though, is a position where United are well stocked, with Martial and Rashford preferring it to the right-hand side where they so often seem to struggle. It the signing of Sanchez worth curtailing their developments?

Wide right

This is the position United need to strengthen most in for their attack to start firing on all cylinders. So far this season Juan Mata, Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have rotated there but if Sanchez can go back to the right – the position in which drew him comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo at Udinese – then Mourinho will finally have the attack he desires.

Sanchez is a hard worker, which Mourinho demands of all his forwards, and has never shirked responsibility in previous seasons. It would also give Martial and Rashford the freedom to develop at a natural pace on the other side of the pitch.

It does limit his threat of cutting inside and shooting from range, though.

Conclusions

Manchester United does not seem like the environment to best suit Sanchez, although it’s hard to dispute he would be a success wherever he went. Mourinho’s side are strong in Sanchez’s strongest positions and weak in his weakest.

Playing alongside Eden Hazard and behind Alvaro Morata in a 3-4-2-1 formation is one that more plays to his strengths. Or playing in a position-share with Leroy Sane or Sergio Aguero at City.

That is not to say United shouldn’t go after him though. He would make United a better team wherever he plays and for the price – and the opportunity of weakening two Premier League rivals – he is a player that should be targeted this month. 


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