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What’s gone wrong with Alexis Sánchez?

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Why hasn’t United’s highest-paid player lived up to expectations?

Manchester United v Valencia - UEFA Champions League Group H Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

When Manchester United completed the deal which brought Alexis Sánchez to Old Trafford in exchange for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, he became the Premier League’s highest paid player. By doing so, Manchester United expected immediate results from him, results which they haven’t had so far in his tenure.

Prior to Manchester United, Sánchez was thriving at Arsenal. In the 2016-2017 campaign, Sánchez scored a total of 30 goals and had 18 assists in all competitions. Last season, he scored seven goals and had three assists before joining United in January. He finished the season with 11 goals and nine assists in all competitions.

There’s been a severe drop in form and production. Critics have been saying it’s because he’s past his peak, but that’s not the case. He’s been a threat when on the pitch, he just hasn’t seen it consistently. Possibly a lack of consistent play time has affected his form, but the root of the problem might run deeper.

All along, there’s been rumors of unrest in the locker room following Sánchez’s arrival. From the outside looking in, the same could be said about the end of his Arsenal tenure. However, there might have been a breakthrough in this saga.

Sánchez came on last match and scored the winning goal in United’s comeback victory over Newcastle, 3-2. He also had a role in winning the free kick for Juan Mata’s goal. In this game, he started on the left but than went to a more central role and that’s where he found success. In prior appearances, Sánchez just hasn’t looked comfortable playing with Manchester United. Style of play and system are the likely candidates for that, but he looked good when he was more central. He linked up play and was a driving force.

This comeback victory against Newcastle might just be more than a fire ignitor in United’s season. It could have possibly woken Sánchez up. It could possibly be Sánchez’s time to break out.