Alexis Sanchez could yet prove to be a shrewd addition for Manchester United, claims Paul Ince, with it possible that that Chilean will be “a key part of their team next season”.
The forward has offered little during his time at Old Trafford to suggest that will be the case.
That led to a loan switch being sanctioned in the summer of 2019, with Serie A giants Inter allowed to take the 31-year-old on a season-long deal.
A purchase option is included in that agreement, but it appears unlikely to be triggered.
That will force Sanchez back to England, with Ince saying there could yet be a Premier League future for a man who remains tied to a lucrative contract in Manchester and is generating talk of interest from West Ham.
“I wouldn’t rule out Sanchez going back to United and being a key part of their team next season. Football is a funny old game,” former Red Devils and Hammers midfielder Ince told Paddy Power.
“I’ve been in the situation as a manager where I’ve thought ‘right, I’m going to get rid of him and him’ but when it comes to it you can’t get the deal done, so they stay at the club.
“Then pre-season comes around and they’re a totally different player to the season before - they’re your key man the next season.
“So Sanchez could definitely go back to United, look fantastic in training, and bang suddenly he’s important to their plans after all.
“Some players are happy to count their money, but that’s not Sanchez – he plays with determination and passion, he clearly loves playing football.
“I know there’s talk about him being a bit of a loner, but that’s fine – some people are like that – it’s about what happens on the pitch, and you can see he’s always trying the right things when he plays.”
Ince added on the transfer talk being generated by Sanchez: “If someone can get him in and play him in the right position, you’ve still got a great player in there. If that’s West Ham, who can build their team around him, then it’s a great piece of business.
“Wherever he goes, he has to be playing week-in, week-out. Not just to justify his wage, but for his own career.
“And I am certain that he is desperate to play. I’ve watched him a lot, and it was never for a lack of trying that things didn’t work.”
Sanchez has hit just five goals through 45 appearances for United, having previously registered 80 in 166 outings for Arsenal, and has found the target just once during his time at San Siro with Inter.