Alexis Sanchez wanted to leave Manchester United after one training session
‘I came home and I told my representative: Can’t the contract be terminated?’
Alexis Sanchez has spoken about his time with Manchester United. Photograph: Getty Images
The 31-year-old took to Instagram on Thursday night to tell his side of the story about his failed move to Old Trafford in 2018, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move in the opposite direction and join Arsenal.
Sanchez endured a torrid spell at United and never managed to find any real form in his two-year spell at the club. He scored only five goals in 45 appearances before being loaned out to Inter Milan for the 2019/20 season, a move he made permanent over the summer.
“I want to tell you about my period at United, about many things that were said and that made me look bad,” said Sanchez.
“I got the opportunity to go to United and it seemed tempting to me. It was something nice for me, because, when I was a kid, I liked that club a lot.
“I ended up signing without much information about what was happening in the move. The first days that I was with my colleagues, sometimes there are things that you do not realise until you arrive.
“The first training I had I realised many things. I came home and I told my representative: ‘Can’t the contract be terminated to return to Arsenal?’
“They start laughing and I told them that something did not sit right with me. It (the contract) had already been signed.”
Sanchez arrived at United in the January transfer window with big expectations on his shoulders, even more so after becoming the club’s top-earner, and he feels he became a scapegoat for the team’s failure.
“I’m telling you my experience, the journalists at times would speak without knowing the facts and it hurt, they had no idea what was going on inside the club,” said Sanchez.
“They said it was my fault, and this, and that, but sometimes a player depends on the environment, the family that is created around him, and I think that in that moment we weren’t really a family.
“And that translated onto the pitch, and since there needed to be someone to blame, they blamed me.”
Sanchez recalled one moment at United when he was left out of the matchday squad by manager Jose Mourinho for a game against West Ham in September 2018.
It was a huge fall from grace for the forward, who earlier that year was regarded as one of the most dangerous attacking players in the Premier League while at Arsenal.
“In a game with West Ham I wasn’t picked. That had never happened to me as a player. It bothered me and I said it couldn’t be possible,” said Sanchez, who scored 80 goals in 166 matches for the Gunners.
“To go from being one of the best in the Premier League to not playing in five months. I came to my house and I was very sad. The next day I trained in a double shift, because I love what I do.”
United lost to West Ham 3-1 and Mourinho was sacked just months later with the Red Devils languishing in midtable. Sanchez then took the opportunity to speak to his successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, about leaving the club.
“Then the next coach arrived, the current one, and I decided to talk to him. I told him that I needed to take a breather, and the opportunity to go to Inter. He told me that yes, there was no problem,” said Sanchez.