21 year-old Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez has hardly just burst on to the scene, but this season has seen the Udinese player begin to show signs that he may develop into one of world football’s brightest talents in the years to come.
A pacy, stocky winger, Sanchez began his career with Chilean side Cobreloa where he spent a year in the club’s academy before graduating to the first team in 2005. Following a glittering year as a first team regular, Sanchez caught the eye of Udinese who snapped the 17 year-old up for almost £2m. The player was then essentially hired out to Chile’s biggest club, Colo-Colo, for a relatively small fee which enabled him to play in the 2006-07 Copa Libertadores. The following season Sanchez was loaned out to River Plate, one of South America’s most prestigious clubs, where he again showed an ability to perform extremely well under pressure, scoring seven goals in the 30 appearances he made for the Argentinean side.
In the wake of his success whilst out on loan, Udinese recalled Sanchez for the 2008/09 season, the Chilean immediately showing incredible ability upon his introduction to Serie A. With supreme control and prodigious skill, Sanchez has thrilled audiences up and down Italy with his quick feet and the effortlessness with which he beats defenders. Despite the Chilean’s superlative performances, Udinese are currently struggling at the wrong end of the table and it is well within the realm of possibility that El Nino Maravilla will secure a move away from the Stadio Friuli in the near future, with Manchester United rumoured to be his likely destination.
The deciding factor in whether or not Sanchez does leave Udinese this year could well be the performances he puts in for Chile during this summer’s World Cup. Having scored eight goals in his 26 appearances for the national team to date, Sanchez has shown that he more than has what it takes to play at the very highest level and, after impressing during qualification, should be assured of a starting berth on the right side of the Chilean midfield in South Africa. The coming months could well shape the career Alexis Sanchez, one of football’s most exciting prospects.