Alexis Sanchez looks “a shadow of the player Manchester United signed”, says Gary Neville, with the Chilean’s struggles leaving a former Red Devils star feeling “sad”.
A man who has previously starred for the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal was expected to hit the ground running at Old Trafford and prove a shrewd addition to Jose Mourinho’s ranks.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, his impact has been the complete opposite.
Just three goals have been contributed in 24 appearances, with Sanchez now considered to have been an expensive flop.
Neville is at a loss to explain why things have gone so badly for the South American, with the ex-United defender telling Sky Sports: “Sanchez looks like a shadow of the player United signed, he looks like a shadow of the player Arsenal had. Alexis Sanchez has been a warrior of a player to watch over the last few years and you don't become a bad player overnight.
“The idea that he now looks the way he does, more than anything I feel sad. When you see a player struggling like that it's just sad, you know that player has been a great player over the last few years.
“He's a fighter, he chases back, he's a hurrier and a scurrier, he's everything you want to see on a football pitch. I expected him to hit the ground running this season and I've just got no answer for it.”
Neville added: “People keep asking me about this player and that player, I must have been asked about 10 different players at Manchester United - what's going on with Anthony Martial, with Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw - the answer is I haven't got a clue!”
Sanchez’s most recent outing, in which he and those around him drew a blank, came in a goalless Champions League draw with Valencia.
That result stretched United’s winless sequence at Old Trafford to four games, with Neville conceding that a loyal fan base are being given little to shout about at present.
He added: “The atmosphere against Valencia was linked to the game, it felt like a game of possession from box to box with no goals at either end. There was no real quality at either end from either team. It was a bit of a nothing game, both teams played decent football at times but not much happened in either box.
“I was in the ground, you can't blame the fans, they were trying to have a go but it was a bit flat mainly because the game on the pitch was a bit flat - it's a natural reaction to what we were watching.”
United are back on home soil this weekend, with Newcastle set to pay a visit to Manchester in Premier League competition – with the Red Devils looking to shake themselves out of a rut which has seen them make their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1989-90.