It wasn’t really necessary, but the temperature has risen several degrees since Tuesday night in Marseille. Received like a demigod at Marignane airport by a multitude of OM supporters, Alexis Sánchez signed his contract on Wednesday for one season plus another option. “He embodies everything we need,” President Pablo Longoria said enthusiastically during the presentation of the Chilean star to the press, in the bowels of the Velodrome. He is a player who can play in different positions and who will allow us to improve our level. »
Precisely, what is the current level of the 33-year-old striker, surpassed by Udinese, Barça, Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan? Before terminating his contract on Monday, Sánchez spent three seasons with the Nerazzurri scoring 20 goals and 18 assists in 120 games, often in the guise of a fancy joker.
The statistics of Alexis Sánchez in his three seasons at Inter Milan
“He was very valuable in the rotation, deciphers Grégory Paisley, the former PSG-trained defender, who follows Serie A for beIN Sports. Especially two years ago, with Lautaro [Martinez] and Lukaku. But even last season, marked by the arrival of Edin Dzeko, he did what he had to do. Every time he came in, he had a lot of gas. »
“It’s still a safe bet”
So of course, OM’s new number 70 is no longer the player he was a few years ago at Barça or Arsenal, 10th in the 2015 Ballon d’Or ranking, then able to stack 30 pawns and 15 offers for the Gunners. in 2017. -18 season. His time with the Red Devils (2017-2019) is to be pigeonholed in the “failures” section. But, even less explosive than in his best moment, the small-format striker (1.68 m) showed in Italy that he was far from being “coal”.
“When I saw that OM was on him, I thought he would be a good choice,” Paisley continues. He is still a safe bet, always able to take out his opponent. At Inter, when he came back, he often revolved around a striker, whether it was Lautaro or Dzeko. Despite the fact that he is 33 years old, he can still take the depth, get up, find himself at the base of an action before projecting towards the surface. »
“I also think he needed a new challenge and that he can find it at OM, a club with hope and that will compete in the Champions League”, adds the beIN Sports consultant. Exactly what Sánchez said this Wednesday before the media, when he spoke of “a personal challenge” after playing in Italy, Spain and England.
“I like the pressure, that things are difficult to make them easier”, also dropped the man of 146 games with Chile, double winner of the Copa América in 2015 and 2016. He will work in Marseille, as his new coach Igor Tudor . , a Croatian born in Serie A, has already seen it, where he refereed at Udinese, Juventus Turin (as an assistant) and then at Hellas Verona.
Will he be able to chain the matches?
“Tudor likes players with a warrior mentality,” Paisley said. Alexis Sánchez enters this box. “In the 3-4-2-1 of the new friend of Dimitri Payet and Mattéo Guendouzi, the new signing from Marseille – who admits that he still lacks rhythm – can play in one of the two support positions for the center forward. But probably not twice a week, between L1 and C1, after having chained three seasons at 44, 41 and 35 minutes respectively on average per game at Inter.
“Can he be consistent for a whole season? One can ask the question, Paisley agrees. But it is still an added value for OM. And not only on the pitch, as Pablo Longoria acknowledged on Wednesday. “In recent seasons he has shown that he is at a very high competitive level, but he also gives credibility to our project, and the power to bring other players back. “After registering his ninth signing of a gigantic summer, time seems more like the slimming cure in Marseille.
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