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What Alexis Sanchez can bring to Manchester United’s Champions League campaign

The signing of Alexis Sánchez put the biggest smile possible on the faces of United fans. The thought of the Chilean forward running around the pitch, next to the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku remains so exciting for many fans that they are still not used to the sight of the 29-year-old in an all-red United shirt. There are clearly many reasons why Mourinho signed Sánchez, in the high-profile January transfer. Sánchez will allow United to keep the pressure on local rivals City in the league and to continue to fight on in the FA Cup.

However, most importantly he undeniably brings a little bit of magic, that will surely enrich United’s Champions League campaign massively.

Having played at some of the biggest clubs in the world Sánchez has a wealth of experience in the Champions League. At Barcelona, he made a total of 141 appearances and claimed 47 goals, a highly respectable and impressive statistic. During his time in Spain Sánchez helped Barcelona to a number of trophies, including the 2012-13 La Liga title, the Super Cup in 2011 and the FIFA Club World Cup also in 2011, highlighting the vast experience Sánchez has of performing on the world stage.

Given the youth of the United squad, particularly the attacking players this experience will be helpful, as Sánchez plays alongside the likes of Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford, whose experience in the Champions League is admittedly growing but at present is still fairly limited. Sánchez also has substantial international experience, as Chile’s joint highest capped player (with 119 caps) and as a 2015 and 2016 Copa America winner.

Sánchez’s first few appearances for United have highlighted his versatility. Having initially been expected to play behind the striker, or on the right, Sánchez has put in a respectable shift on the left, demonstrating his capability to play in a variety of attacking positions. As United battle in the League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League, players like Sánchez who can slot in and perform well literally anywhere will become invaluable as the squad is rotated and the fixture list becomes more busy and crowded.

In the event of injuries or fatigue due to the busy schedule, Mourinho and United fans can rest assured that they have an excellent player in Sánchez who can step up whenever and wherever needed.  The young Chilean has many attributes that can help make United’s Champions League a success. Renowned for his speed and high work-rate Sánchez will undoubtedly be the player to add a little magic and little energy into the United team, which is vital for a successful Champions League campaign.

Sánchez’s last outing in the Champions League may be one he would like to forget. It ended with Arsenal crashing out of the competition, losing 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in what were two utterly embarrassing performances for the North London side. This loss further sparked transfer rumours as Sánchez was clearly himself embarrassed and maybe a little astonished at his and Arsenal’s shocking performance. At United, however, he has a chance to undo this defeat and reassert himself in the competition with a whole new team.

His desire to prove, on the European stage, that he is a quality player and is worth the money will certainly motivate him and drive him on to perform for United in the Champions League. It is clear that United’s newest number 7 does not lack experience and quality and will definitely not lack drive and determination when competing for the reds. His versatility will make him an invaluable player when the busy schedule begins to kick in and his adaptability will ensure that wherever needed he will still shine in the United squad.

Clearly, Sánchez does not lack the determination to succeed in the Champions League (especially after Arsenal’s most recent run in the competition) and this will surely drive him on to future European success in a United shirt. Sánchez brings a variety of different qualities to the number 7 role and United squad in general and will be sure to put in a respectable shift for the reds in the Champions League this season.

Written by Ciara Garcha

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