Bryan Robson has backed Alexis Sanchez to become one of Manchester United’s great number 7s, despite a tricky start to life at the club.
The Chilean move north from Arsenal in the January transfer window, as part of a swap-deal between the two clubs. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Armenian attacking midfielder who was more prolific in the Bundesliga than in England, went the other way.
Sanchez, though, is still yet to take a game truly by the scruff of the neck and make it his own. There have been some bright moments, but very little that has reminded Man United fans of the 29-year-old’s performances at Arsenal.
Robson believes Sanchez can follow in the footsteps as players like Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I just picked it as it was a lucky number when at West Brom,” Robson said of how he became United’s first great number seven.
“I asked Steve Coppell if I could wear it [at United].
“After me when Eric wanted it, then Becks, Ronaldo, we have had some fantastic players who have played as No. 7.”
In recent years, United have had very disappointing number 7s in Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia and Memphis Depay. Robson thinks Sanchez will be compared more to the greats of Beckham and Ronaldo at the end of his United career.
“I think Sanchez can get up there with them,” Robson continued, speaking to the Manchester Evening News.
“For me, he is a top player.
“He has a winning mentality, works hard for the team and has great ability.”
Sanchez was expected to start this season in fantastic form after having the first full pre-season and rest during a summer for many years. For season after season, Sanchez has gone away with Chile to Copa Americas, World Cups and other tournaments like the Confederations Cup.
This time, Chile did not qualify for the World Cup, and so Sanchez could rest properly. He looked good in pre-season, but after four games of the season so far, he hasn’t looked like United’s best player, let alone one of the best in the Premier League.