Sanchez compares United switch to Thierry Henry’s exit
'Thierry changed club for the same reason'
23 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley
ALEXIS Sanchez was meant to be saying a humble goodbye, thanking all of the backroom staff at Arsenal for the help behind the scenes.
But the striker, who joined Manchester United yesterday (Monday) after a long-drawn out transfer saga, simply added to the frustration of Gunners fans by suggesting he was simply doing what the club’s all time record goal scorer, Thierry Henry, had done.
In fact, Sanchez,suggested, a private a conversation with Henry had made him feel he needed to leave to further his career.
The 29-year-old, who appeared in gratitious announcement video in which he played Glory Glory Man United on a piano and gazed at the Manchester night sky, was paid for by Jose Mourinho by sending playmaker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan the other way in a swap deal.
Arsenal risked losing Sanchez without any compensation in the summer after their star asset had allowed his contract to wind down into its final months. The power, as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested will become more common, was all with Sanchez and his agents, who have secured a weekly wage reportedly worth £500,000 a week. He will comfortably be the highest earning player in the Premier League, for now.
Sanchez’s social media messages, unsurprisingly, said it was not about the money and hinted the debate had been over whether Arsenal can compete for the top tournaments. He has FA Cup winners medals with the Gunners but wants more and has apparently complained in the past to Wenger about the lack of premium signings.
Martin Keown, the former Arsenal defender who now works as a television pundit, had accused Sanchez of being a mercenary, after following what seemed like the biggest payday rather than his first choice destination of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s management.
In his barbed sign-off messages, Sanchez said: “There are people, former club players, who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100 percent until the last day.”
He added: “I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn. Thanks for everything Gunners. All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important.”
Henry stayed at Arsenal for eight years, winning two league titles during a trophy-laden period. The club failed to land Europe’s biggest prize, the Champions League, during this time however, and Henry only got his hands on a winners medal after signing for Barcelona. He later returned to Arsenal on loan from his time at the New York Red Bulls and is honoured with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium, a tribute unlikely to be repeated for Sancherz.
Mkhitaryan is not a like for like swap and there have been questions over whether Arsenal are actually in need of another playmaker, regardless of Wenger’s penchant for recruiting them. The loss of Sanchez, who is said to have privately resolved to leave the club after the defeats to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last season, could be mitigated, however, if Arsenal can capture their own transfer window target of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
There were reports in Germany last night that Wenger may need to offer Olivier Giroud, the out of favour centre forward, as a makeweight to land Aubameyang, a former team-mate of Mkhitaryan. Any attempt to sign Malcom, the rated winger at Bordeaux was made harder yesterday when new manager Gus Poyet had only agreed to take the role if he had an assurance that he would not be sold. Spurs have also shown an interest in bringing him to north London.