Manchester United’s £350,000-a-week superstar has all it takes to do justice to the iconic No.7 jersey – agreed?

The Cheeky Chilean! – Sanchez Has All It Takes To Revive The Famed No.7 Jersey At Manchester United

On Monday evening, Manchester United announced the signing of Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal with Arsenal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the other way.

What seemed like a simple transfer deal over the summer, where Sanchez was deemed to join Manchester City, United came out of nowhere and hijacked the deal a week ago. Suddenly, Jose Mourinho looked desperate to land the Chilean star and he has got him now, with the club handing him the iconic no.7 jersey.

Down the years, the famed No.7 jersey has seen players produce enthralling football at the Theatre of Dreams. From George Best and Eric Cantona to David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, Old Trafford has witnessed some amazing football from amazing players.

That is what the United’s newest recruit, Alexis Sanchez will have to live up to. It is an uphill task to match the legacy and standards set by the No.7 predecessors but the £350,000-a-week Chilean’s hunger and desire could see him become an icon in the red half of Manchester.

When Cristiano Ronaldo joined United in 2003, he was an 18-year-old teenager, a lanky Portuguese filled with potential and quality. The Portugal international joined at the same time as other Red Devils Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tim Howard, Kleberson and David Bellion.

Ronaldo was given the no.7 shirt, vacated by David Beckham that summer, but initially struggled to live up to the hype that surrounded him. As years rolled on, the Portuguese became matured and turned into a sensation; little we fans had knowledge about.

When the time came for Ronaldo to bid goodbye to United in 2009, he had already become a superstar, helping the club lift the Premier League and Champions League trophies. He had also won a Ballon d’Or by then.

Sanchez, on the other hand, has joined United as a 29-year-old; a player with innumerable attributes which prove that he is one of the most gifted players in the Premier League as well as Europe.

Last season, he played in all 38 Premier League games and scored 24 goals in total for Arsenal, better from his 13 goals the season before and 16 in his debut season in England. Yet, this season is completely different, as the Chilean has hit only 7 goals with very little influence on the games. One would argue that the player’s head was elsewhere since the start of the season and his relationship with his teammates had soured.

However, Sanchez remains to be a workhorse and is a player who is tailormade to work under Mourinho. Not only does Sanchez have qualities similar to a younger and fitter Ronaldo, but he has also shown that he is ready to hit the ground running.

With the Chilean, Mourinho’s talented attacking unit would look complete and dynamic. The former Arsenal man’s qualities are well documented and he will add zest and explosiveness to the attack. He is an extraordinarily complete attacker capable of dribbling, creating chances, assisting and scoring at will. Also, there is no doubting his professionalism and work ethic, while his versatility comes as an added bonus to the club.

Unlike Ronaldo, who arrived as a raw, exciting boy to leave as a formidable player and a man who is shattering records at Real Madrid with ease and poise, Sanchez has joined United at a very different time; already in the mould of a superstar.

Sanchez is a warrior and Mourinho is a serial winner; the powerful tag-team is possibly the catalyst which has been needed since the combo of Sir Alex Ferguson and Ronaldo.

The Chilean will clearly improve the Red Devils, regardless of what role he’s deployed in. He will not turn 30 until midway through next season and will still be playing with all the energy, desire and passion of a 10-year-old kid.

However, the question is whether Sanchez will perform at the same level for the next four-and-a-half-years from here on. It would be a challenge to keep himself fit as he will enter the 30’s next season. Although hurdles are bound to come in between, I am certain that he has the willpower to overcome them all and a prove what he is actually made of.

The stage is all set for Sanchez to go and don the famous red jersey with pride. He will not only have the task of proving his detractors wrong but also the task of living up to the billing of the famed No.7 legacy which has faded since Ronaldo departed in 2009.