Alexis Sanchez didn’t exactly look thrilled to be returning to Manchester United as the Chilean debates whether to move away from Old Trafford.
The 29-year-old was pictured arriving back at Heathrow Airport on Thursday after international duty with Chile over the past week.
Sanchez played the full 90 minutes of Chile’s away friendly match against Mexico in Queretaro City on Wednesday and was clutching a clearly-needed coffee after his long return flight.
It meant he missed Thursday’s training session with United, linking up with the rest of Jose Mourinho’s squad on Friday for just one training session ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Chelsea.
The demands of the past week mean Sanchez is unlikely to start the Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge, but it’s his long-term future with United that is occupying his mind.
Despite only joining from Arsenal back in January, it is believed the forward’s representative has been sounding out potential suitors across Europe to gauge the level of interest in him.
Sanchez has endured an inconsistent start to the campaign, with his stoppage-time winner against Newcastle United a fortnight ago the first goal he has scored since April.
Jose Mourinho has not been enamoured by the forward’s displays and has left Sanchez — back in training on Friday after international duty — out of his starting line-up in more than half United’s games this term.
The United manager is thought to be more impressed by his defensive diligence than attacking threat.
Sources claim Sanchez’s split with girlfriend Mayte Rodrigruez has had an impact on his performances.
Whether any club would be willing to match his astronomical wages — in the region of £450,000 a week — remains to be seen.
United head to Chelsea on Saturday needing a result after a stumbling start to the season.
Sources believe Mourinho is trying to create a siege mentality ahead of a blockbuster run of fixtures, including a Champions League double header against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus and the Manchester derby on November 11.
Mourinho’s inner sanctum have become increasingly private at Carrington amid a run of just one win in five games, with attention placed on the immediate more than ever before.
For Mourinho, the desperation for instant results and uncertainty over his future means any long-term planning has been put on the backburner.