JOSE MOURINHO saw what everybody saw when Alexis Sanchez wore the colours of Arsenal.
He was fast, aggressive, agile, creative — and boy could he finish.
It is why Manchester United famously hijacked Manchester City’s move for him back in January 2018.
What United could not see, when they agreed to offer him a an eye-watering pay packet to lure him from Arsenal, was a deeply troubled, insular individual.
He retreated, withdrawing into his shell and isolating himself from the United dressing room when it all started to go wrong.
Nothing was ever his fault.
The Special One would prod him, antagonising the forward by digging him in the ribs.
Solskjaer, who quickly made the call on Sanchez, pretty much ignored him.
Sanchez could do with a break. It is easy to throw the money at him, the £505,000-a-week United agreed to pay over his 4½-year contract: £71,945 a day, £2,997 an hour, £50 a minute.
We are all guilty of that.
It evokes memories of John Gregory to Stan Collymore, when the former Aston Villa manager told his forward, “£300 working 60 hours a week are the people who should be depressed”.
Nobody is suggesting it ever got that bad for Sanchez at United.
The reality is that he did not come good for Mourinho, or Solskjaer.
Mourinho, the manager who fought so hard to sign him from Arsenal, pinpoints only two games when Sanchez made a significant impact.
Sanchez’s goal against Newcastle, when he came off the bench to score a last-minute winner to save the manager’s job last October, was one of them.
The finish against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in April 2018 is the other.
Of course, United were entitled to expect more from the biggest financial investment in the club’s history.
His familiar emotions — gesticulating, complaining, sulking — followed the same pattern as his Arsenal career.
It was at the Emirates where he knew how to whip up the crowd, to get them on side by giving the eyes to anyone who dared misplace a pass.
Under Mourinho, every body movement and every dressing- room exchange was exaggerated.
He claimed his movement was superior, that he could see storylines unfold on the pitch far quicker than any of his United team-mates.
Mourinho tried a softer approach with him, calling him into the manager’s office to try to break down his behaviour.
Nobody could get through to him.
Many felt that he could not cope with the demands of playing for a truly big club.
With Udinese and with Arsenal, he was always seen to be striving to take his team of underdogs to the very top.
When he got his move to Barcelona in 2011, he struggled to adapt to the intensity of playing for a world superpower.
Pulling on the shirts of Barca and United creates different expectations.
The groans from the crowd bounce off the stands, amplified by the expectation, the history and the demands of playing for an elite club.
Sanchez has just joined another, with Inter Milan the latest stop on his puzzling career path.
Sadly, Italian football is welcome to him.