Alexis Sanchez is an ‘exemplary professional’ and will rediscover his top form at Inter, according to former team-mate Antonio Di Natale.
The Chile international could bring his Manchester United ordeal to an end with an initial loan deal back in Serie A, a league in which he played alongside Di Natale for Udinese between 2008 and 2011.
His struggles at Old Trafford have been well documented and, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had spoken of his belief in the forward to come good, his exit will come as a relief to plenty of United fans.
But legendary forward Di Natale, who scored 210 Serie A goals throughout his career, thinks Inter are well set up for Sanchez to shine once again.
“Sanchez to Inter would be an extraordinary coup and a gamble that both parties could win comfortably,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Alexis is an exemplary professional, someone who always arrived early for training sessions and never held back during a match. He is returning to Italy, where he left an excellent reputation, and he was strongly wanted by a great coach like Conte, who had asked for his signature back when he was at Juventus.
“He has all the ingredients needed for a great season. Alexis needs people to have faith in him and I am sure he’ll do well with Conte. I think he had some fitness problems over the last 18 months and he certainly had difficulty settling in at Manchester United.”
Italy represented Sanchez’ first destination in Europe after bursting onto the scene at Chilean side Cobreloa in the 2005-06 season. Signed in 2006, he spent two more years back on loan in South America before settling into the Udinese first team. Three seasons further on, he was signed by Barcelona.
Recently, though, he has looked a shadow of his former self. Confidence and consistency are key for him, according to Di Natale, who thinks he can find both playing in Antonio Conte’s system behind Romelu Lukaku.
“Sanchez has to play consistently and feel important to give his best,” he said. “That didn’t happen in Manchester, but it’s impossible to doubt his talent.
“He’d also be playing the 3-5-2 system with Conte, which he had at Udinese under Francesco Guidolin and allowed him to become a decisive player. He’ll have Romelu Lukaku by his side and as a second striker, Alexis becomes impossible to mark with his pace and power.
“You’ll see, he will score many goals. His time in England seemed to be over as he needed a new challenge and Inter are the right club for a relaunch, with Conte the best coach to get him back to the top level.
“I can assure you, Sanchez will want to prove himself in Serie A.”