Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the reason behind his decision to loan Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan, insisting that the forward "needed to go".
Sanchez has officially completed a season-long loan switch to San Siro, after a disastrous 18-month spell at Old Trafford.
The Chile international moved to United from Arsenal in January 2018 as part of a swap deal including Henrikh Mkhitaryan, having emerged as one of the Premier League's finest players at Emirates Stadium.
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Unfortunately, he has been unable to replicate the same form at United, managing just five goals in 45 appearances across all competitions.
Sanchez helped Chile reach the Copa America semi-finals this summer, but upon his return to Solskjaer's ranks, found himself left out of the United squad at the start of the 2019-20 season.
He will now reunite with former Red Devils colleague Romelu Lukaku at Inter after the Belgian striker joined the club for a reported £73 million ($89m) fee at the start of August.
Ahead of United's trip to Southampton on Saturday, Solskjaer has explained why he allowed Sanchez to follow Lukaku out of the exit door.
He told a press conference: "Alexis needed to go, at the moment we know he’s been here for 18 months and it’s not really worked out for him. For him to restart and get himself playing regularly and scoring goals that will only benefit everyone. In the end, for us, we’re going to watch every weekend to see Romelu and Alexis playing together.
"He will come good for them. For us, we had a decision to make, I'm trusting Anthony [Martial], Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood] to be our centre-forwards.
"We’ve got wingers in Chongy (Tahith Chong), Dan James, [Andreas] Pereira, we’ve loads of options. For me, it’s time for our boys to feel that pressure and responsibility, to be more robust, to know they have to play five games in a row.
"I trust the fitness staff and medical staff and the pre-season work. We’re mentally and physically more ready, that’s the next step for our young players."
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are now the only natural centre-forward options left available to Solskjaer, the latter of whom has yet to earn his first competitive start for the club.
At just 17 years of age, Greenwood is now set for a major step up and he could feature at St Mary's this weekend with Martial ruled out through injury.
Solskjaer went on to express his faith in the youngster's ability, but also stressed that he will still be used in a back-up role while he develops his all-around game.
The United manager added: "Mason is not used to playing as little as he is at the moment, he’s used to playing every week.
"Now he’s coming on for half an hour here or there and that’s a learning curve for him. He won’t play five games on the bounce, he’s cover and an option behind Marcus and Anthony."