Louis van Gaal targeting Barcelona forward

Jamie Jackson has reported in the Guardian this evening that Louis van Gaal is interested in bringing Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United this summer in a move that could be worth £20million. Any interest in the player is just that at this stage, but the new United manager is a keen admirer of the Barcelona forward and will look to make a move for the player after the World Cup. Sanchez and van Gaal will face each other in Brazil this summer when Chile play Holland in their group B clash.

The arrival of Sanchez would inevitably mean the departure of at least one attacking player from United’s squad, meaning that Nani, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia or Shinji Kagawa may find themselves surplus to requirements. With everyone starting afresh under Louis van Gaal both Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez will also need to impress to ensure they stay at Old Trafford next season, with the World Cup taking on even greater importance for their own personal futures.

With van Gaal often favouring a 4-3-3 system, he usually relies on pacy widemen to support the lone striker and provide both goals and assists from wide areas. Of course at Bayern Munich he operated with Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben in those positions, and the addition of an ‘inside forward’ like Alexis Sanchez would allow him to replicate the same kind of system at United.

At just 25 years of age, Sanchez is an example of someone who is young enough and hungry enough to succeed at Old Trafford. He will arrive with plenty of experience and will be near enough the finished article, so no need to question whether he would fulfil any burdening ‘potential’. The 2014 World Cup will be Sánchez’s second, plus his experience of both the Champions League as well as featuring in a title-winning team will stand him in good stead to handle the rigours of life at Manchester United. The addition of a player of Sanchez’s quality could really make the difference in making United challenger’s for the Premier League crown currently residing at the Etihad.

Following his £21m move to the Camp Nou in 2011, Sanchez won a La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, two Spanish Super Cups, the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup in just three years. An impressive medal haul indeed, comparable to many in United’s trophy laden stars, but it has not always been a happy time for the player. Not often first choice, and having to compete with the likes of Pedro, Villa, Messi and most recently Neymar for a place in the side, Sanchez has failed to make the starting position his own. Should he make the move to United he could star, and rather than simply showing glimpses of his undoubted talent, he will get his chance to really shine in what is firmly considered the greatest league in the world.

By Adem Berkay

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