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Alexis Sanchez has worn the Man Utd shirt already ahead of his transfer from Arsenal years after Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried and failed to sign one Chile international in Marcelo Salas back in 1998 and tried and failed to sign his compatriot 13 years later; Alexis Sanchez.
The 29-year-old is set to become the first Chilean to play for the club after Angelo Henriquez, Ferguson’s penultimate signing, was restricted to a couple of cameos in friendlies.
Ferguson was an admirer of Sanchez when he was at Udinese. Sanchez joined the Italian club in 2006 but not break into the first-team until two years later, having returned to South America for loan spells with Chilean outfit Colo-Colo and River Plate in Argentina.
Sanchez surpassed Salas and his former international strike partner Ivan Zamorano by scoring four goals in a single Serie A match as Udinese whipped Palermo 7-0. Salas won the Scudetto with Lazio and Juventus while Zamorano was a prolific striker at Internazionale.
United were heavily linked with a move for Sanchez in the 2011 summer transfer window, particularly after Ferguson eulogised the then-22-year-old in September 2010.
“We have looked at Sanchez and he has impressed us, as have other players,” Ferguson was quoted as saying by the News of the World in 2010. “He has had very good games and is an interesting project.
“We have gathered some background, as with other footballers at his level, but nothing more than this for the moment.
“We have watched some Chileans in the past. The most interesting case was that of Salas, who had a brilliant World Cup [at France ’98] but he was at Lazio.
“We would have liked to have had him.”
United and City both made contact with Sanchez’s representatives six-and-a-half years ago but he joined Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona for €26million after United bought Ashley Young.
Sanchez seemed set to reunite with Guardiola at City this year before United gazumped the Premier League leaders earlier this month.