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30th Aug 2019

All hail Alexis Sanchez – the super-fraud who played Manchester United like a piano

Wayne Farry

A level of shithousery to which we can all aspire

Alexis Sanchez has departed Manchester United for Inter Milan on a season-long loan and after 18 months at Old Trafford, the Chilean striker leaves behind a legacy like none the club has seen before.

Once one of the world’s most lethal forward players, Sanchez was already something of a spent force by the time he decided to leave Arsenal for the riches of Manchester.

He knew his powers were on the wane – he wasn’t quite as incisive, his touch wasn’t the same, and his eye for a goal had deserted him – but he didn’t let on, and went anyway.

You can almost imagine it now. Sanchez gets the call from his agent: ‘United want you.’

He almost drops his phone in disbelief, before rolling around on the floor laughing with Atom and Humber for an hour or so.

Time progresses, United’s interest intensifies, and the follow-up call informing him that this is in fact a practical joke never materialises. This is actually happening.

The day of the medical arrives. Sanchez makes it through the security gates at Carrington, right through the fucking door – no alarm, no concern – like one of the characters from Ocean’s Eleven whose name I can’t remember.

He has his medical. The Manchester United medical team gives him the green light. Being the greatest and most talented fraud the world has ever seen is not a medical condition.

The he sits down in front of a piano and wows each and every one of us.

At the time the move is considered a coup for Manchester United by those either without eyes or those who haven’t seen Sanchez play for close to a year. They have beaten off competition from rivals Manchester City for his signature, and have won the right to pay him a reported £400,000 a week in the process.

Imagine for a second just how smug Ed Woodward must have been at this time. He would’ve been beaming. You can imagine him stopping at every mirror he walked past just to look himself in the eye and say: ‘You are the man, Ed. You’re doing a really great job.’

He probably even treated himself to some champagne and enjoyed a steak and lobster dinner. As he was chewing mercilessly on the well done piece of meat, one can safely assume he was blissfully being unaware that he was about to fall victim to the worst fleecing that English football has seen in a long time.

Sanchez has been criticised for his commitment and his performances at the club, which is frankly ludicrous. At one point or another, we have all been in jobs we didn’t like, wishing we were able to earn enormous sums of money for doing the bare minimum. Few of us – unless we’re failsons of billionaires – ever actually achieve it.

But Sanchez did. Every single day he gave 110 percent to ensure that he did as little work as possible, and still earned close to £2 million a month. And he did it for 18 months. That’s phenomenal by any metric we have.

While (some of) his teammates worked hard, he sat there, presumably with a smug grin on his face waiting for the gravy train to roll up to the station and kick him off.

But now, even that he has left the club, that hasn’t happened. Yes, Sanchez is no longer playing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, having joined Inter Milan on loan, but he is very much still on the books.

Such is the enormity of Sanchez’ wage packet that United were willing to let him go, while still paying 80 percent of his wages.

As he settles into life in Italy and as we look back at his time at the club, we should not scold him – whether we are neutral observers or concerned United fans.

We should praise him, for doing what each of us would given half a chance, for setting generations of his family up for life and for showing the entire football world just how delightfully stupid Manchester United have become.