Paul Ince: Alexis Sánchez was so good at Arsenal because of Mesut Özil

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Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal celebrates as he scores their second goal with Mesut Ozil during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on December 28, 2017 in London, England
Photo: Catherine Ivill/GETTY IMAGES

Former Manchester United captain Paul Ince claims that Mesut Özil was the main reason why Alexis Sánchez was so good at Arsenal.

Sánchez became one of the Premier League's top attackers during his time with Arsenal, scoring 80 goals in 166 appearances for the Gunners.

The Chilean then departed the Emirates for Old Trafford in January 2018 in an ill-fated swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Having been snapped up amid much fanfare, the former Udinese and Barcelona man has flopped badly at the Theatre of Dreams.

Sánchez failed to replicate the same form he showed on a consistent basis whilst on Arsenal's books, only managing five goals in 45 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils.

The 31-year-old is currently taking in a season-long loan at Serie A giants Inter Milan, having been deemed surplus to requirements by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

A purchase option is included in that agreement, but it appears unlikely to be triggered and Sánchez appears likely to return to Manchester with his future up in the air.

It marks a massive fall from grace for Chile's all-time top scorer, whose contractual wage at United reportedly earns him an eye-watering £400,000 a week.

And former United great Ince believes that Sánchez is no longer as productive as he was because he misses linking up with Arsenal star Özil, whose performance levels have also dropped notably in recent years.

Writing in his column for Paddy Power, Ince said:

The Alexis Sánchez saga is a strange one. When you look back at his Arsenal days, you're talking about one of the Premier League's best attackers. He was a great player there.

We all know what happened next, but there is something most people overlook - and that's Mesut Özil. Having him alongside Sánchez was the reason he was so good at Arsenal.

As a pair, they had a telepathy with each other, they instinctively understood each other, they knew the runs the other were going to make without even looking. Most good things that Alexis did at Arsenal were connected with Özil.

And it works both ways, they made each other better - look at Özil since Sánchez left, he's not been the same player. Neither have.

Özil's future has also been subject to plenty of debate, with the German only managing one goal and three assists in all competitions so far this season.

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