Villa’s on loan Colombian midfielder looks set to make a €2.7m Euro switch to Italian club Fiorentina.
The Italian press report that any fee would be in addition to the €250,000 that the Serie A side have already paid Villa for his services this season.
This would represent a loss on the £4.8m Villa paid in 2015, although a depreciation isn’t surprising given that Colombian struggled at Premier League level & is now the wrong side of 30.
Sanchez is currently in the midst of a change in playing position, not dissimilar to that of Villa’s recent approach with Mile Jedinak.
Both players now see themselves being deployed increasingly in a defensive role, with Sanchez having played in defence 10 times this term for Fiorentina.
With that in mind, perhaps Villa missed a trick as Sanchez often found himself in a Villa midfield completely over-run by the pace and dynamism of Premier League opposition.
PROS & CONS
Whilst we only saw fleeting glimpses of quality at Villa, there is actually little wider debate regarding his qualities.
Indeed, his reputation prior to and after Villa remains in high regard. Talk about Villa Syndrome or what?
However, we can only go off what we saw. All too often he appeared simply too casual in his play.
For every neat flick, there were countless miss-placed passes. There was also frequent hesitation and needlessly risky decisions made when coming under pressure as a result.
Given his role & position in the side, this became a bug-bear amongst many supporters as the errors would often lead to goals being conceded or goal-scoring chances for the opposition. In the midst of a struggling, relegation embattled side, these errors are magnified and costly.
For some fans and managers, he was seen as an accident waiting to happen.
To contrast this, away from Villa Park & when faced with a different tempo or style of football, the Colombian shone.
The trouble from a Villa perspective was that this was generally at international level, arguably playing with better players but also often against other South American sides.
Whilst well reported at the time, it’s worth recalling a Man Of The Match performance against Brazil in June 2015, nullifying Neymar & co:
The Aston Villa midfielder was brilliant, putting in a tireless shift full of intensity, edge and purpose.
Playing in defensive midfield is often a position that can be overlooked, but Sanchez certainly wasn’t on this incredible night. He was that good, rightly drawing the plaudits for his outpouring of effort.
He effectively represented everything that Brazil didn’t have in midfield, a properly strong link between defence and attack. It meant that the Aston Villa reserve — and that in itself bears dwelling on given the exceptional quality of his performance — dominated the centre of the pitch. – Miguel Delaney
Equally, he was regarded as a key & unassuming figure of Colombia’s success at the 2011 Copa America Not to mention a stand-out 2014 World Cup finals.
Another noteworthy performance resulted in Argentina & Messi being booed off.
Such was the quality of these eye catching displays, he often received plaudits. This included well regarded, but often cutting, South American correspondent Tim Vickery; he described Sanchez as “dominating”.
Like many before him at Villa Park, his failure to to impose these qualities upon our football club will remain a mystery. After-all, you don’t suddenly become a peripheral, maligned footballer overnight.
Whatever the reasons, be it Villa’s general decline, hamstring injuries or struggling to adapt to Premier League football quickly, Sanchez cannot really be recalled for having many moments of comparable quality.
In February of 2017, he also cited that five changes in management since his arrival had made life difficult for him;
The coach who wanted me, Lambert, was there for just six months. In the year and a half in which I was there we changed managers five times: How do you work in such a situation?
- Total Appearances = 55
- Total Goals Scored = 1
- Fee = £4.8m from Elche
- 9 Yellow Card / 1 Red
Born in Quibdo, a chaotic jungle town near the frontier with Panama in the north west of Colombia, Sanchez experienced a difficult upbringing, with football providing escape from the abject penury of a region that has some of the worst national indicators in terms of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and child health. There was not always a meal on the table at the end of the day for the young Sanchez, who spent his days playing football in the street and dreaming of one day liberating himself from the pauperism that had engulfed his childhood. – Source