The ex-Gunners star believes a forward who impressed in north London could yet become a key man at Old Trafford after a slow start with the Red Devils
Alexis Sanchez is capable of rediscovering his Arsenal form at Manchester United, says Paul Merson, with nobody expected to spend big on the Chilean forward in the next transfer window.
The Red Devils thought they had pulled off quite the coup when luring a proven Premier League performer away from Emirates Stadium in January 2018.
Sanchez has, however, struggled to find a spark at Old Trafford and is currently taking in a season-long loan at Serie A giants Inter. They are unlikely to take up a purchase option, meaning that the 31-year-old is going to be forced back to England.
It may be that he is offered a clean slate in Manchester, with Merson tipping a man who hit 80 goals in 166 appearances for Arsenal to make the most of another fresh start.
The former Gunners star told Sky Sports, with the Red Devils unlikely to invest heavily in finding a replacement for Sanchez: “With what’s currently going on, I can’t see a team going out and spending £100m on a player anymore.
“Teams are going to have to stick with what they’ve got so Manchester United keeping hold of Alexis Sanchez and bringing him back into the fold would come as no surprise.
“The other options would be to go and find a replacement and they would have to spend £60m or £70m to do it. I just don’t think clubs are going to do that anymore, and actually, I don’t think people care.
“The clubs can’t ask the government to pay the wages of their staff and then once this has passed, and hopefully it will, go and spend £60m, £70m and even £80m on players. That’s taking the mick at the highest level! For that reason, I can understand Sanchez coming back to play a part at Old Trafford because, on his day, he is a great player.
“After this, people are going to appreciate things a lot more now – and that includes some of the footballers who get bundles of money and think they can just stroll through. Sanchez was one of those players, but I think he will probably now think this life goes very quickly, especially a football career.
“Players might start to appreciate that more and he could come back, work hard and be a success because you can’t go from being that good at Arsenal to be that bad at Manchester United, you just can’t.
“It’s definitely a better United than the one he left too. They were flying before the suspension of the league. They’ve had some excellent performances and some brilliant results so that will benefit him too.
“He’s got to come back and appreciate he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. There is logic in Sanchez going back at Old Trafford, he’s a top player and if they can get even half the player he was at Barcelona and Arsenal back, he’ll be an asset.”