Tuesday 20 March 2018

Eamon Dunphy hails Alexis Sanchez as the 'best Manchester United signing since the Ferguson era'

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Eamon Dunphy believes Manchester United's acquisition of Alexis Sanchez was the best piece of transfer business the club has done since Alex Ferguson's departure five years ago.

Currently trailing Manchester City by 12 points in the Premier League, Dunphy claims the arrival of the Chilean at the red side of Manchester was necessary as Jose Mourinho's side seek to keep tabs on their rampant rivals.

The finishing touches to the deal were made on Monday and an announcement that Sanchez and fellow 29-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan had traded places was made at 6pm.

United's new number seven Sanchez, who missed Arsenal's win over Crystal Palace on Saturday while negotiations over a switch continued, will be a huge asset at his new club, according to Dunphy, but he was far more skeptical on the impact Mkhitaryan can make at the Emirates.

"Well Arsenal have got the worst (deal). They've got a player who I don't think has the fortitude for the Premier League," he told Game On on RTE 2FM.

"Manchester United have signed a seriously good player who could be a gamechanger. He is the best player to sign for Manchester United since the Ferguson era by a mile.

"He is a match-winner, he's a leader, he's got guts, he won't be intimidated by Old Trafford which some players who go there are, he's captain of Chile.

"I think it's a big, big deal for Manchester United and a good deal.

"The wages... maybe £500-600k a week will strike people as excessive and that's probably why City didn't go for him. You have to remember that they are getting a really top class player and they are getting rid of a guy who doesn't have the guts or fortitude for the Premier League.

"I think Mkhitaryan is a talented player but the last thing Arsenal needed was a mini Ozil and that's what they've got."

United moved for the forward earlier this month when it became clear he wanted to leave Arsenal during the current transfer window rather than wait until he came out of contract in the summer.

Prior to that he had been expected to join Manchester City, who had a deal worth up to £60million accepted for Sanchez last August but could not complete a deal on transfer deadline day.

City considered bidding again in January but pulled out last week due to the rising costs involved.

"Manchester United have to find a way to close the gap on City and for various reasons Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool aren't going to do it, in my opinion, in the near future," Dunphy added.

"I think for Pep Guardiola, they didn't have a player to give Arsenal or they wanted to give Arsenal and maybe they were sensitive to the idea of one player in the dressingroom taking home twice as much as everyone else every week. That can be damaging.

"Guardiola may have been sensitive to that and he may also be sensitive to his age, he's 29, and 30 soon, whereas United's needs are immediate and Guardiola is building a young team for the future."

So who would he now stump for if the two Manchester sides came face-to-face.

"If they were playing Manchester City tomorrow without Sanchez, I wouldn't have them but with Sanchez, I think he can do serious damage to the City back four."

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