Manchester United reporter notebook: What now for Alexis Sanchez?
Sky Sports News' James Cooper provides insight from Old Trafford about Sanchez and the Paul Pogba conundrum
By James Cooper, Sky Sports News North-West Reporter
Last Updated: 20/08/19 8:30pm
There was a moment last night at Molineux when it seemed normal service had, perhaps, been resumed.
Manchester United deserved their half-time lead with Anthony Martial's pulsating opener the perfect end-product to a dynamic and mobile performance that left Wolves on the back foot.
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But a drop in tempo in the second half and a revival from the home side probably gave United's travelling support the point they'd arrived at Molineux hoping for rather than a consecutive win that they should have extracted.
The faces coming out of the United dressing room said it all as the players opted not to talk to waiting reporters. This was an opportunity missed for United, but regardless of that, the questions would all be about Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
What now for Sanchez?
The chatter surrounding the Wolves game had been about one player, Alexis Sanchez and whether his time at United is now coming to an end.
Inter are keen and expect to know if they have a chance of acquiring him in the next 24 hours. But it's a complicated deal in the offing and one that will see United pay big sums for one of their players to play for someone else.
It's not cut and dried, yet, that Sanchez will leave and the fear is that if he does, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be short of a player he might need to use after a transfer window that failed to bestow a quality striking option.
The current situation and system relies on Marcus Rashford and Martial remaining fit and firing with young Mason Greenwood already poised to shoulder more responsibility than perhaps he should at just 17 years old.
The Pogba conundrum
At times Pogba conducted beautifully, yes there was the casual football that sometimes comes with his game but when he decides to pull the strings, often this United side are at their best.
There was so much to admire in the break that led to the penalty, all created by the skill and drive the midfielder possesses. As he strode away from his opponents and bore down on Conor Coady, the Wolves skipper was beguiled by a flourish from Pogba that drew the challenge.
What followed was akin to a game in the school playground as the blood pumped and Pogba sought to redress the situation. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the exchange that saw Rashford watch the penalty rather than take it, this was perhaps the clearest indication that United lack the leadership on the pitch to keep everyone in check. That might come with Harry Maguire, an increasingly vocal presence, and Scott McTominay who is already showing greater maturity.
Rui Patricio came up with a wonderful save to deny Pogba but this was a fourth penalty miss in 11 attempts. As the United faithful departed, recollections of Rashford's bold penalty in Paris or his successful spot-kick in the season opener were certainly in the warm Wolverhampton air.
The plus-points are clear, Solskjaer has managed to equip his side with the hunger and mobility to leave a team who relish the challenge of weightier opponents bewildered. But, once again, the Pogba pantomime leaves town on a night when the star had threatened to grab all the right headlines. Solskjaer's major conundrum is allowing Pogba the freedom he requires to shine as United's driving force but keeping his emotions from boiling over.