Manchester City flirted with the idea of signing Sánchez, even prompting manager Roberto Mancini to admit discussions with the Chilean, only to then state Manchester City were out of the race to sign him.
Corriere dello Sport reported Gino Pozzo, son of Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo, saying, “The will of the player [Sánchez] is to go to Barcelona.”
Sánchez isn’t the first and won’t be last young, talented entertainer to grace Camp Nou. Now the question is will he succeed?
Here are five reasons why he will and won’t fail at FC Barcelona.
As Matías Fernández’s star fades, his compatriot Alexis Sánchez’s star rises.
Sánchez has impeccable technique, he’s a showman, he has pace, he loves to take on players, he is attack minded and he personifies what Barcelona want in their players.
Think about it. Barcelona have Lionel Messi and Sánchez who have the ability to draw opposing players out position, therefore allowing the likes of Andrés Iniesta, Pedro, David Villa, Dani Alves and so on to exploit the temporary positional advantage.
Hristo Stoichkov, Luís Figo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo were all bought as prodigious talents. All of the aforementioned, aside from Ronaldo, contributed several excellent seasons.
In the case of Ronaldo, his one season was awe-inspiring.
At just 22, Alexis Sánchez has not only had six seasons of experience, but he has many more seasons left in the tank, potentially the best left untapped for Barcelona.
For me, Alexis Sánchez wasn’t the best player in the Serie A last season, far from it. It was Edinson Cavani.
Yet amidst the fancy footwork, the bravado, the scintillating tandem play with Antonio Di Natale, people often neglect the horrific start to the season Sánchez had.
Here was a player who was having no impact on the wings, his body language was negative, he looked nonplus and in a critical game against Juventus, he flopped so badly that he was substituted in the 69th minute.
He was relegated to the bench for the next few games, but then manager Francesco Guidolin did something bold by moving Sánchez from the wings into a withdrawn forward role behind Di Natale.
What a tactical move.
For the remainder of the season, Sánchez lit the Serie A with some astonishing performances, like a four-goal haul against Palermo.
Sure enough for Chile in the Copa America, he played excellently as a forward and was easily Chile’s best player.
Now, do you know who plays in his position at Barcelona?
Current FIFA Ballon d'Or and future FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.
Possibly Barcelona have wasted €26 million on Sánchez who presumably will replace either David Villa or Pedro on the wings, even though Sánchez plays his best as a forward.
I’m under the impression that Barcelona, being in debt, haven’t paid €26 million for a substitute, which leads me to assume Alexis Sánchez will be a starter.
He won’t play in Lionel Messi’s position, so that means either David Villa or Pedro will lose their starting position.
I’d relegate Villa to the bench, as his 23 goals don’t reveal some of the struggles he had throughout the season, none more evident than his torturous 11-game scoring drought.
Plus, he isn’t a natural winger, which means Sánchez can slot in and provide those incisive runs which Villa doesn’t.
Problem with this is how will Villa react?
Conversely, if you relegate Pedro to the bench, how will he feel? This is a guy who puts 100 percent, who is the only forward who tracks back and does all the dirty work which Messi has a free pass on.
There is also the possibility that Sánchez will not impress, thus will be warming the benches.
He plays like Cristiano Ronaldo, and he acts like Ronaldo, so he won’t be pleased to say the least.
Alexis Sánchez is overhyped. He played an exceptional second half of the season, but that’s it.
Look beyond the hype and remember for the first half of the season. This was a guy headed down Matías Fernández’s road.
Sánchez’s move to the centre precipitated some world class displays, but Lionel Messi plays in that position, and unless manager Pep Guardiola decides to radically change what has worked for him, Sánchez will struggle.
Also here’s a boulevard of broken dreams for talented expensive failures which Barcelona have indulged upon in recent times.
- €20 million for Geovanni in 2001
- €15 million for Alexander Hleb in 2008
- €15 million for Simão Sabrosa in 1999
- €11 million for Juan Román Riquelme in 2002
Before the Zlatan Ibrahimović debacle, there was the outrageously daft decision to pay €40.6 million to Arsenal for Marc Overmars.
Oh and of course, the recent signing of Keirrison was just so odd. You pay €14 million for a guy who doesn't even play?
It's just now that you begin to understand why Barcelona are in so much debt.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Sánchez joins this list. If anything, I think his time at Camp Nou will mirror that of Ricardo Quaresma.
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