Back in 2018, Manchester United chief Ed Woodward saw the pound signs and went for Alexis Sanchez . Despite the player looking a shadow of his old self at Arsenal in the months before his move to Old Trafford, the Red Devils decided to make a significant statement. But he’s gone the same way Fernando Torres did at Chelsea - and now Woodward will struggle to find a buyer for the Chile international this summer.
Related articles Man Utd boss Solskjaer can sign Sancho alternative for £54m What Man Utd boss Solskjaer has been told in private about transfers Chelsea sensed their own opportunity in January 2011.
They’d seen Torres struggle at Liverpool in the months before, with the Spain international only managing nine goals from 26 games - having managed to score 22 goals from 32 matches a year previously.
It was clear he was struggling to recover from hamstring injuries that had started to rear their head.
But Chelsea decided to go after Torres anyway - and made him the most-expensive signing in British football history in the process.
At the time the Blues regarded it as a coup.
They’d seemingly done the impossible, signing Liverpool’s talisman and their own truly great asset - other than captain marvel Steven Gerrard.
THINK YOU KNOW FOOTBALL? Football quiz questions and answers: 15 questions and answers for your home pub quiz
Related articles Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ‘the next Michael Carrick’ What Man Utd think about Pogba role as Fernandes partnership awaits
Man Utd transfer news: Ed Woodward signed his own Fernando Torres in 2018 (Image: GETTY) Related articles Man Utd chief Woodward unlikely to sign two players because of Sanchez Man Utd hierarchy's plan for No 7 shirt revealed READ MORE Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have the next Carlos Tevez It was clear from Carlo Ancelotti’s big smile in the unveiling that Chelsea thought they’d struck gold. Here was a ticket to the Champions League trophy.
But, though Torres did help the Blues win the prize manager Roman Abramovich wanted the most, he never scaled the heights many expected.
He scored 45 times from 172 matches when, considered he cost them a cool £50million, wasn’t good enough.
And United have their own version of the former Liverpool and Chelsea star on their brooks at present.
Sanchez was viewed as a game-changer within the footballing world when the Chile international swapped Arsenal for Old Trafford over two years ago.
The hype was real. Fans instantly snapped up his shirt, one that had the club’s famous No 7 on the back.
VOTE IN OUR LOCKDOWN SURVEY: Premier League lockdown survey: Should football return despite coronavirus? VOTE now
Related articles Man Utd's seven striker targets - including Werner and Dembele How Man Utd plan to hurt Barcelona and Lionel Messi in transfer window
Man Utd transfer news: Ed Woodward faces a fight to get rid of Alexis Sanchez (Image: GETTY) Related articles Man Utd boss Solskjaer could be about to sign his own Keane Man Utd boss Solskjaer may have signed the next Mbappe READ MORE Man Utd chief Woodward makes transfer decision because of Di Maria There was the piano announcement, too, with Sanchez cornily treating supporters to his own rendition of ‘Glory Glory Man United’.
The 31-year-old, like Torres, was on the wane when he arrived.
He’d found the net just eight times for Arsenal prior to his move away, having hit 30 across all competitions the previous year.
Yet Sanchez has turned out to be an even worse signing for United than Torres was for Chelsea nine years ago.
He scored just five times from 45 matches for the club before being loaned out to Inter Milan following a clash with Mason Greenwood at their Carrington training complex.
That was the final nail in his United coffin.
could sign four free agents to save millions in transfer window
Man Utd may turn to Memphis Depay or Wilfried Zaha because of Jadon Sancho difficulty
Man Utd face Anthony Martial leaving Old Trafford if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fails mission
Related articles Man Utd owners the Glazers’ stance on Ed Woodward future revealed How much Man Utd owners the Glazers were prepared to sell club for But, now, Woodward has a problem.
In deciding to give the forward a huge salary of £400,000-a-week, he’s made it almost impossible to move the flop on.
Nobody is willing to pay Sanchez the same lofty wage. Given how bad he’s been at Inter - he’s scored just once from 15 games - anybody who did would be a fool.
They could be stuck with him. It’s a genuine possibility.
And that’s bad. Sanchez is a shadow of the player he used to be, with the magic he once possessed long gone. A parting of the ways is needed - but will it happen?