Alexis Sanchez has lost confidence, according to his former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, with the Chilean struggling to make his mark at Manchester United.
The South American forward flourished at Emirates Stadium during his time working under an iconic coach, with his reputation firmly enhanced in north London.
Sanchez, the Premier Leagues highest-paid player but one who has largely struggled since joining from Arsenal at the start of 2018, showed good technical ability, keeping the ball and bringing others into play, something that benefited Ashley Young, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial in particular. His first touches found their intended target virtually every time.
He was, however, to take the decision in January to head for pastures new, as his contract with the Gunners ran down, and crossed the Premier League divide to end up at Old Trafford.
Things have not gone to plan for Sanchez in Manchester, who was considered to be quite a coup upon his arrival, with just four goals recorded so far.
So lost has the 29-year-old looked that he is generating more transfer talk 12 months on from his deal with the Red Devils, with Jose Mourinho struggling to bring the best out of him.
Wenger is saddened to see a former charge enduring such a dip, with the Frenchman telling beIN SPORTS: I believe he has lost confidence.
Those are the players who are most vulnerable when they lose confidence their game is based on that and having that feeling to take initiative, he has lost that slowly.
Since the start of the season he had a high level of physical energy but he has lost that as well.
After grabbing a dramatic winner in a 3-2 victory over Newcastle prior to the October international break, Sanchez has been used sparingly since.
He was handed just five minutes off the bench in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, before missing out on Champions League and Premier League meetings with Juventus and Everton.
Mourinho did welcome him back for a clash with Bournemouth, as Romelu Lukaku slipped out of the fold, and a starting berth was retained for a European return date with Juve.
United claimed 2-1 successes on the road in both of those fixtures, but Sanchez is still searching for his spark as awkward questions continue to be asked of his value to the cause.
Alexis Sanchez is finally starting to show signs he can replicate his best Arsenal form at Manchester United – according to his former Gunners manager Arsene Wenger.
The Chilean has endured a turbulent time in his 10 months at Old Trafford after arriving in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Reports of the star’s demise and struggles at United have led to reports the club are looking to offload Sanchez – while the star’s reported £500,000 a week wages are also said to be causing United struggles in their efforts to tie down Anthony Martial and David De Gea to new deals.
But Sanchez appears to have turned a corner at United having started the last three matches more centrally in the absence of Romelu Lukaku – a fact our readers were keen to highlight – and Wenger believes the club may finally be starting to see what the Chilean is all about.
And the Frenchman, while admitting Sanchez has struggled, believes Jose Mourinhos decision to take him out of the firing line a month ago has paid off.
These kind of players are most vulnerable when they have no confidence anymore because their game is based on confidence and feeling free to take initiative.
He has lost that slowly, even with the interruption of the season, since the start of the season he looks like he had a high level of energy that he has lost as well.
Certainly, he is refreshed now because Mourinho left him out for a while and he has a good opportunity to get back to where he belongs, as a top player.
I think hes getting somewhere near what we know and Id have been very disappointed being taken off after playing like that today, he said after Saturday’s win over Bournemouth.
Fancy the best United news direct to your Facebook timeline? Like our dedicated Manchester Utd Facebook page.