United move not driven by money: Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez is expected to make his Manchester United debut away to Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday and is certain to be added to the Champions League squad.
Alexis Sanchez is expected to make his Manchester United debut away to Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday and is certain to be added to the Champions League squad.PHOTO: REUTERS

Chilean forward insists he joined Red Devils for ambition, feels it is possible to win 'everything'

LONDON • Alexis Sanchez sealed his dream move to Manchester United on Monday with a parting shot at the former Arsenal players who accused him of being motivated by money.

The Chile forward has become the best-paid player in English football history, signing a 41/2-year contract that could be worth £450,000 (S$828,000) a week including signing-on fees, image rights and performance-related bonuses.

Martin Keown, the former Arsenal and England defender, called him "the biggest mercenary in football" for joining United, but Sanchez hit back at the criticism he faced during his unhappy final months at the Emirates Stadium.

In an Instagram post to Arsenal's supporters on Monday, Sanchez said: "There are people who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100 per cent, until the last day, when I asked the Mister (Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger) to be in the team, because I wanted to (make) a contribution."

He also referred to a conversation that he had with Thierry Henry, Arsenal's record goalscorer who left for Barcelona in 2007.

"I remember today a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player who changed club(s) for the same reason, and today is my turn," he said.

United confirmed the deal, which was clinched by offering Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange, in a tweet with a video purportedly showing Sanchez playing Glory Glory Man United on the piano.

Behind-the-scenes clips suggest that it is indeed Sanchez himself playing the famous United ditty, and the video has gone viral.

I'M NO MERCENARY

There are people who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100 per cent, until the last day, when I asked the Mister (Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger) to be in the team, because I wanted to (make) a contribution.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ , new Manchester United signing, insisting that the criticism directed at him is unfair.

But he has a lot more than piano skills to offer United, having scored 39 times in 88 LaLiga games for Barcelona and 60 goals in 122 Premier League appearances.

The workhorse will also provide energy, pace and a direct approach.

The 29-year-old said in an official statement: "The chance to play in this historic stadium and to work with Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down."

In a separate interview with MUTV, he added: "I always said as a kid that I would like to play for United. I once spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson about it. We chatted for about 20 minutes and I told him that my dream was to come here to Manchester United...

"It really is a massive club, very powerful and so now, when I got the opportunity to come here, I looked at the badge and my hairs just stood on end.

"I believe that at this club it's possible to achieve anything. I want to come here and win everything - the Premier League, the Champions League and whatever comes the club's way in future."

Sanchez is expected to make his United debut away to Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday and is certain to be added to the squad for the Champions League knockout stage.

Mkhitaryan will not be eligible to play for Arsenal in this season's FA Cup or the League Cup, in which they face Chelsea in the semi-final second leg today, so he is likely to make his debut against Swansea City next Tuesday.

The 29-year-old also described his move as a "dream come true", saying that he had "always dreamt of playing for Arsenal".

He fell out of favour with Mourinho during his second season at United, but Wenger, his new manager, described the Armenian playmaker as "a very complete player" who "creates chances, defends well, can absorb distances and is very committed as well".

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'United move not driven by money: Sanchez'. Print Edition | Subscribe