The ability of new West Ham United midfielder Carlos Sanchez to do the simple things well on the football pitch is “on the wane,” according to Sky Sports Presenter and Colombia fan and expert David Garrido.
Garrido spoke exclusively to West Ham Matters after the Colombia International of 11 years made his Deadline Day move to East London from Serie A club Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee, signing a two-year contract.
First, we asked Garrido, founder of La Liga Lowdown, what he made of the 32-year-old’s performance at the FIFA World Cup 2018, in which the Colombians reached the round-of-16, only to be knocked out by Gareth Southgate’s England.
“The World Cup opening-game double-whammy of penalty and sending-off against Japan wasn’t harsh at all – decisions like that had been given in La Liga all the season before, so Sánchez should have known better,” said Garrido.
“The hauling down of Harry Kane in Colombia’s last-16 clash with England was maladroit at best, and certainly naive, given how referees were clamping down on grappling.
“It’s a little microcosm of what he’s been about in the last few years – a combination of misfortune and misjudgement, and his ability to do the simple things well is on the wane.”
In Russia, Sanchez, performed a comedy of errors while wearing the colours of his nation, starting in their first game in Group H and being sent off after just three minutes for a cynical handball.
The dismissal contributed to Jose Pekerman’s men losing their opener to outsiders Japan and nearly a place in the knockout stages as a result, getting there in the end by winning their remaining two group games.
Drawn against the Three Lions at the Spartak stadium, Sanchez gave away a penalty in the second half by needlessly fouling the aforementioned Kane in the box from a corner, had it not been for the spot-kick, Yerry Mina’s late header would have been a winner and not a leveller.
However, World Cup aside, what does Garrido think about the player domestically, does he still have much left to offer now into his 30s and qhat will he bring to London Stadium?
“He used to recover the ball, lay it off, keep shape and have the engine to make the difference when there were tired legs around him. At 32, you wonder how many of those he is still capable of.”
Sanchez started off his career in his native South America with Uruguay top-flight side River Plate Montevideo, before getting his move to Europe and spending six years with Valenciennes in France between 2007 and 2013.
He then hopped over to Spain with Elche, all the while continuing to rack up caps for the Colombian national team following his debut in 2007, he has 88 to date and has played at five major international tournaments.
It was while in La Liga that he earned the most high-profile move on his career, being picked up by then-Premier League team Aston Villa in the summer transfer window of 2014.
Despite a promising start, a constant changing of the managerial guard made it hard for any player to settle at Villa Park and his time there ended abruptly with relegation to the Championship in 2015/2016.
A season-long loan to Fiorentina preceded a permanent move that would end in disappointment as he set after rebuilding his career, his 2017/2018 season was disrupted by injuries and a loan back to La Liga with Espanyol.
Sanchez was signed at the last minute by new Hammers boss Pellegrini and became his ninth first-team signing of his first window in East London, while the fee was not revealed, it is believed to be in the remit of £1-5 million.
The Colombian is expected to be the third or fourth-choice central midfielder for the Irons, a back-up for the likes of Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Pedro Obiang, but he could be in the squad for Sunday’s Premier League opener away at Liverpool.