Paul Ince: Mesut Ozil was reason Alexis Sanchez was so good at Arsenal – people forget that

Alexis Sanchez hasn't been the same since leaving the Emirates.


The Alexis Sanchez saga is a strange one. When you look back at his Arsenal days, you’re talking about one of the Premier League’s best attackers. He was a great player there.

We all know what happened next, but there is something most people overlook – and that’s Mesut Ozil.  Having him alongside Sanchez was the reason he was so good at Arsenal.

As a pair, they had a telepathy with each other, they instinctively understood each other, they knew the runs the other were going to make without even looking.  Most good things that Alexis did at Arsenal were connected with Ozil.


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And it works both ways, they made each other better – look at Ozil since Sanchez left, he’s not been the same player. Neither have.

Going to United was a mistake. I bet Alexis wishes he’d gone to City, like he was supposed to. United was never, ever the right move for him. The team wasn’t settled and their style of play wasn’t conducive to him.

He was clearly desperate to make an impact. Look at the way Bruno Fernandes has hit the ground running at Old Trafford, that’s what Sanchez wanted, and was expected to do.


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But he didn’t get a lot of game time and was used out of position, so when he did play he started to come deeper and deeper to get on the ball, to try and influence the game, and that wasn’t his game.

A move last summer was always on the cards, and I thought Inter would’ve been a good place for him to go – but, again, he doesn’t fit. Where does he play in the 3-5-2 that Antonio Conte plays? You’ve got Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez up front, there’s no room for Sanchez.

Football is a funny old game, though. Sanchez could definitely go back to United, look fantastic in training, and bang suddenly he’s important to their plans after all. I wouldn’t rule out him being a key part of their team next season.


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What do you think?