In this EXCLUSIVE interview with Paddy Power that may or may not have actually happened, former footballer Alexis Sanchez reveals how he escaped the pressures of kicking a little ball around for half a million quid a week by working for a dog grooming business in Keswick.
Sanchez, who semi-retired from football when he left Arsenal to join Manchester United in 2018, spent eighteen months on United’s bench while pondering his next career move.
The 30-year-old claims he almost sealed a move to China before the transfer window SLAMMED SHUT on Thursday, but negotiations broke down when the Chinese government refused to give him unrestricted access to the nation’s $3.23trillion foreign exchange reserves as part of the deal.
Alexis admits the collapse of the lucrative Chinese deal made him ponder his future and it was while bathing his two beloved golden retrievers, Atom and Humber, that he first considered a move away from the sport.
‘I was rinsing the conditioner out of Humber’s coat when suddenly I realised my destiny lay away from football’, recalls Sanchez while blow-drying his client, a large Japanese Spitz called Shinju.
After a lot of soul searching the diminutive No.7 decided to swap scissor kicks for doggy scissors and left behind the glitzy world of professional football to lead his new life in relative obscurity, as a self-employed dog groomer.
Sanchez spent about a month scouring the country for the right opportunity before finally stumbling upon a salon named ‘Doggy-Style’ in the quaint Northern English market town of Keswick.
The first person the Chilean informed of his decision to walk away from a multi-million-pound contract at United was his trusted agent, Fernando Felicevich.
Felicevich played a key role in sealing Sanchez’s lucrative move to the Red Devils during protracted negotiations with United supremo Ed Woodward, which were rumoured to have lasted as long as five minutes.
After several failed attempts to have his client sectioned, the Argentine businessman resigned himself to the fact a player he’d represented from the age of fifteen was quitting football to pursue a career in dog grooming.
At the time, Felicevich is alleged to have sobbed while shouting ‘He’s gone f**king mad’ and blowing his nose into a $100 bill.
Heartbroken, Felicevich set about brokering the best possible deal for his client and after some tricky negotiations with the salon’s owner, Derek, he managed to swing the rental of table for fifty quid per week.
Next, Sanchez contacted Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward to tell him he wanted a new challenge.
‘Ed offered to double my salary and give me a two-year contract extension’, said the former Udinese striker. ‘I thanked him for the generous offer but told him my mind was made up’, he explained while muzzling a Staffordshire Terrier named ‘Gripper’.
Woodward was understandably distraught at the news. After all, it was his decision to bring the former Arsenal hero to Old Trafford.
‘It’s with a heavy heart I must reluctantly accept Alexis’ decision to quit Manchester United in order to fulfil his dream of becoming a dog groomer’, read a statement from Woodward. ‘I think I speak on behalf of everyone associated with United when I thank Alexis for his unwavering commitment during his time with the club.
‘A return of three goals in exchange for just over twenty-six million pounds proved to be an excellent investment and Alexis’ tenure here is the very embodiment of what my reign as chief executive has been all about’.
Sanchez then revealed his decision to the world with a Facebook post which was very warmly received by Manchester United fans. The 30-year-old former Chile international striker said goodbye to his teammates then cleared out his locker before making the two-hour car journey to Cumbria.
Alexis started work at Doggy Style last Monday and is already convinced he’s made the right decision.
‘I’d rather cut the hardened shite from the fur surrounding this Pomeranian’s arsehole than spend another second with Jesse Lingard’, said Sanchez while hacking away at the fur around the dog’s rear end.
Doggy Style’s proprietor, 54-year-old Derek Barker, is delighted to have Sanchez on his staff and claims that a number of new high-profile customers have visited the salon since Alexis came on board.
‘We had Jeff Stelling in here yesterday with his Afghan Hound, Omar, who was getting his nails clipped’, beamed Barker. ‘And we’d Arturo Vidal in here this morning with his Havanese pup, Zamorano. They flew over from Barcelona by private jet just so little Zamorano could have his head shaved into a Mohawk like his’, he added.
No sooner had the words left Derek’s mouth that Manchester United’s legendary Charity Shield winning manager, David Moyes, entered the shop with his Belgian Tervuren, Marouane, who was booked in for a trim.
‘I heard such good reports about Alexis’ skills and he canny be beaten on price either’, gushed Moyes whilst patting Marouane on the head.
While Sanchez finally appears to have found his calling in life, his agent believes it’s only a matter of time before a bigger salon comes along to snap up his client.
‘As it stands, Alexis is a Doggy Style employee but who knows what the future holds? We’re open to offers’, grinned Felicevich.