€25 million Manchester United and Manchester City snub - Worthwhile?

Barcelona Goal

Alexis Sanchez is certainly not the in-demand player who almost signed for Manchester United and Manchester City two years ago. Was it the right move?

Two years ago Manchester United and Manchester City found themselves locked in a transfer battle for a highly rated attacker, which neither ended up winning.

Alexis Sanchez was the 22-year-old whizkid from Chile who had been turning heads in Serie A with Udinese, scoring four times in a single game for the club.

His club president went as far as to compare him to Lionel Messi, with the express intention of driving up his price, which seemed to work.

Both Manchester clubs were heavily linked with Sanchez, who was seen as a real game changer capable of deciding the destiny of the Premier League title.

In the end neither club met their valuation, and Barcelona swooped in to pay €25 million to snap up the attacker.

Except for Sanchez the deal has not really gone to plan, for he now finds himself battling for his future at the club after a difficult second season.

His first season was certainly promising, Sanchez scored 15 goals and provided six assists, which included a strike as he inspired Barcelona a 3-1 El Clasico win in his first appearance in La Liga's famous grudge match.

But 2012/13 has been a difficult affair for him altogether, the first half of the season at least. Sanchez failed to score a single La Liga goal until February, before the floodgates belatedly opened.

He scored 8 goals in his final 16 games of the season, to save face and potentially his Barcelona career, with talk over a possible sale easing up.

Sanchez provided 13 assists in total and 11 goals in all competitions, superior figures to his first season.

But he still faces a real threat to his future, with the addition of Neymar leaving him worried over his place at the club next season.

He is still just 24 and has his whole career ahead of him, and will want to play for a club where he is valued as a star man rather than an afterthought.

So was joining Barcelona the right move? 

The answer to that will be borne out over the next couple of seasons. Sanchez may just find he regrets turning down the chance to move to Manchester when he could, with either club. 

He is gradually being pushed out of the first team picture, and it's questionable as to whether he would make their first XI, likely to end up alternated with popular choice Pedro. A poor 2013/14 and the exit door may beckon next summer.

Sanchez may just reflect that he would have enjoyed greater longevity had he joined either Manchester club, where competition for places is still intense, but there are no Lionel Messi's or Neymar to compete against.

His peak years are ahead of him, so if either club did decide to splash the cash to finally bring him there it might just be worth it, but his value likely would have depreciated from the figure he previously fetched, looking like a solid attacking player rather than the 'next Ronaldo'.

Do you wish your club bought Sanchez? Would you take him now?

image: © jeroen_bennink

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