Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has hit out at Alexis Sanchez for joining Manchester United, insisting that he only moved to Old Trafford for money.
The Chile international, who has been heading for the exit door at the Emirates for some time, looked destined to join Manchester City.
But with Pep Guardiola refusing to improve his £20m bid, Jose Mourinho stepped in and offered Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange for Sanchez – a deal that should be completed before Man United’s clash with Burnley on Saturday.
And Keown, fittingly writing for the Daily Mail, has launched an attack on Sanchez, labelling the forward as a mercenary.
“Sanchez has got to be the biggest mercenary in football,” he wrote.
“Manchester City have wanted to sign Sanchez since the summer and, if no deal is done in January, they will be waiting for him at the end of the season.
“City would be the natural place for Sanchez to go to develop his football. He has worked with Pep Guardiola before.
“But for Sanchez, this is clearly not about going to the best team, working with Guardiola and taking his game to another level.
“He has probably thought that he will not get a better offer if he waits until the summer, so he might as well take the best deal on offer now. It has been all about the money.”
This is, I’m afraid, the only way Arsenal fans can cope with what is happening right now. Their manager said not so long ago that he would not conduct business with Jose Mourinho anymore, and yet here he is, not for the first time, sending his biggest goal-threat to Manchester – forever playing the Dortmund to our Bayern Munich.
Their argument essentially states that the only reason a player would choose Mourinho over Guardiola would be because of money. But that, I’m afraid, is just not how football in the real world works, and not what happened here.
Sanchez may have wanted to play under Guardiola, but he also had his reservations: the Spaniard’s rotation policy, emphasis on a constant reciprocity with teammates and microscopic tactical detail would not have appealed to someone who has always played with instinct and thrust, driven to exist at the heart of his side’s attacking display every week.
And perhaps, just perhaps, he saw Mourinho – who has always let his attacking players make their own decisions going forward – as a preferable option in this sense.