After being linked with Manchester City for most of the transfer window, Alexis Sanchez is set to join Manchester United as the Red Devils are agreeing to his monetary demands. It is quite funny how money affects people’s decision.
At one point, Sanchez was going to reject a move to Old Trafford to push for a move to the Etihad, but monetary benefits, it seems, has changed his mind. Nevertheless, in a way, it is better for the Chilean to move to the red side of Manchester.
That is simply because, at City, the competition is too high when compared to United. At Old Trafford, he will be an undisputed starter—something that is not guaranteed at the Etihad. So here are the three ways United could line up with him.
This is perhaps the unlikeliest scenario there is. However, there is a slight chance for this to happen given the fact that he started out as a right-winger and played a considerable amount of games there before joining Barcelona.
With him on the right, Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford can take up the left wing while Jesse Lingard can sit in the hole, as a central attacking midfielder, behind striker Romelu Lukaku in a 4-2-3-1 formation. However, the over-attacking nature of the system may make Mourinho opt for a 4-3-3.
Even then, Sanchez can be utilised on the right with the in-form Lingard on the left and Lukaku up top.
2. Second striker/striker
Given Romelu Lukaku’s tendency to go AWOL against the big teams, the Portuguese tactician could opt for the Chilean as the second striker or main striker in those games. The versatility of the former Barcelona man allows him to shift to the centre seamlessly.
Indeed, he can also perform brilliantly as a centre-forward, as we have seen numerous times. However, he is at his best just playing off the main striker—which in United’s case is Lukaku—as he has shown at Arsenal alongside Olivier Giroud.
Also, given Mourinho’s tendency to play the 4-2-3-1, playing Sanchez in the hole is a real possibility that the former Real Madrid coach might have pondered upon. In this system, the two players on the wings could be Jesse Lingard, on the left, and Juan Mata, on the right.
This is perhaps where he will ply his trade the most at the Old Trafford. Mourinho spent £75 million for Lukaku, so it would be absurd to think that Mourinho would remove him from his first XI plans after the arrival of Sanchez.
As a result, he will think of a system that incorporates both Sanchez and Lukaku at their goal-scoring best. While playing Sanchez in the centre as a second-striker is a possibility, it somewhat restricts his goalscoring abilities.
To witness entirely unleashed Alexis Sanchez, the former Inter boss will have to play on the left—a position from which he could cut inside and make a mark in the final third. While it does leave a risk of putting the left-back in an awkward 2v1 scenario, it is a risk worth taking.