Alexis Sanchez has spoken at length about how he would have won the UEFA Champions League with Manchester City if he had joined them instead of Manchester United in 2018.
The Chilean arrived in England in 2014 from Barcelona, joining Arsenal off the back of a stellar FIFA World Cup campaign.
Sanchez cemented his place as one of the Premier League’s finest players during his first three seasons with the Gunners, but sought to leave in the summer of 2017 with one year left on his contract.
He was continually linked with a reunion with ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at Man City. A deal looked to be in the works late in the window, but Arsenal’s moves to replace him collapsed and the transfer fell apart – Raheem Sterling and Thomas Lemar were heavily linked with switches to the Emirates Stadium.
When the January window rolled around, Man City were again hopeful of signing Sanchez, but they were beaten to a deal by Man Utd.
In an interview with TVN, Chile’s public broadcaster, Sanchez discussed this transfer saga.
“I was about to go to City. I spoke to Guardiola every day, he told me happy birthday. He was like my dad, He was my dad at Barcelona and he was like my dad at City,” Sanchez began.
“We talked, we talked every day, he sent me messages. And everything was ready, there was a player who was going to go to Arsenal. Then [Arsene] Wenger tells me you are not leaving because the other player did not want to come and they do not have another.
“Suddenly, the cell phone rings. [Jose] Mourinho tells me: ‘Alexis, here is the [number] seven available for you’.
“It wasn’t a money thing, so everyone knows. It was the same with United and City. And he said to me ‘here is the seven, we are playing in the Champions League and we are going to give everything’. I wanted to leave at that moment, but I had Guardiola’s word.
“That’s when I said to myself, a Chilean footballer playing for Manchester United, something that has never happened. With the seven of [Eric] Cantona, [David] Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and now a Chilean had it, it was a dream.
“I don’t regret going to United, things happen for a reason. I would have liked to have gone to City, yes. We would have won the Champions League by now. In the final I would have done something.”
There were huge expectations for Sanchez at Man Utd, particularly after he was so prolific in Arsenal teams which underwhelmed for the most part.
Mourinho’s side needed a fresh injection of energy to reignite a flailing 2017/18 season, but were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the last 16 stage by Sevilla and lost the FA Cup final to a Chelsea team that finished three places behind Man Utd in the Premier League table.
Sanchez would score just five goals in 45 games for Man Utd before joining Inter, helping them win Serie A in 2021.
He now plays for Marseille in Ligue 1.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss the race to sign Jude Bellingham, Antonio Conte’s Tottenham future, Roy Hodgson’s return to Crystal Palace, Erling Haaland’s contract, Mason Mount & more!
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