Will Alexis Sanchez spark United to victory over Spurs?
Cape Town - “He’s too old.”
“He cost too much.”
“He’s a negative influence.”
These were just some of the cries when Manchester United snatched Arsenal’s best player, Robin Van Persie, from their squad six years ago.
And now, Jose Mourinho has replicated Sir Alex Ferguson by bringing Alexis Sanchez into the fold at the Theatre of Dreams.
We know how it worked out, in the short term at least, for Van Persie and much of the same is expected from Sanchez.
For Mourinho, the deal represents another dagger in the back of a rival after he brought Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku in with Chelsea the big losers and now Manchester City are struggling for excuses for their bumbling at the finish line as they failed to land a star that Pep Guardiola really wanted.
The FA Cup victory over Yeovil was a perfect start for the Chilean as he notched up a man of the match performance after turning in a dynamic performance, but Saturday away at Spurs is an entirely different prospect.
The match is set up perfectly - United are on somewhat of a roll with three league wins on the bounce while the hosts have two draws in their last three fixtures.
Harry Kane is one goal away from 100 league goals and if he scores, he will be the first player to get to his century against the Red Devils.
There might be eight points in it, but on paper there is nothing separating the sides with history in favour of the Lilywhites when it comes to recent home meetings. Spurs have won the last two to somewhat pad Mauricio Pochettino’s poor record against United. The manager sat in the home dugout has just two wins in his seven clashes making this game even more intriguing.
The real question then is: Can the arrival of Alexis Sanchez tilt the scales in favour of Mourinho’s men? He is a superstar and already proven in the Premier League and has in the past, been a thorn in Spurs’ side.
There are still questions around the position he will be deployed in such is the form of Anthony Martial with Mourinho now suddenly spoilt for choice.
This is a fixture that has three goals (a 2-1 win in either direction) written all over it and at 1/1 for 2.5 goals or more – it makes a great value bet.
And those reading this with red-tinted glasses, 6/1 on Sanchez, the new iconic No 7, scoring the game’s first goal seems to make sense.