Alexis Sanchez “can’t get any worse” for Manchester United, says Paul Scholes, with the Chilean having struggled to make an impact following a January arrival from Arsenal.
The Red Devils were considered to have pulled off quite a coup when landing the 29-year-old forward, especially as arch-rivals Manchester City had also been in the mix.
A lucrative package was pieced together to sign the South American, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan also offloaded as part of a swap deal for a player running down his contract in north London.
Big things were expected of Sanchez at Old Trafford but, following another disappointing display in an FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea, he has faced more criticism than praise so far.
Former United midfielder Scholes is among those to have questioned a proven performer on a regular basis, with the ex-England international telling BT Sport after a forgettable outing at Wembley: “His performances, well they have to improve. They can’t get any worse to be honest with you.
“I think the first few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player.
“Do they [have big players]? Paul Pogba does not win you games on his own. [Eden] Hazard does. Alexis Sanchez doesn’t, he’s shown that since January, they thought he could, but what we’ve seen.
“They need two magical players. I think they’ve got really good players, they haven’t got a Hazard, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi, and I know many teams haven’t, but the difference between the two today was the quality in Hazard, we saw that in big games.
“United don’t have that.”
In his 18 outings for United to date, Sanchez has managed just three goals.
He had registered 30 across all competitions for Arsenal last season, while hitting 80 in just 165 appearances for the Gunners.
Jose Mourinho will be demanding a return to that level in 2018-19, with the Red Devils having invested considerable faith in his talent.
The arrival of Sanchez has shunted others out of favour at Old Trafford, with it up to him to prove that he is deserving of a regular starting berth ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – who have both seen their respective futures called into question over recent weeks.