Jan. 22 (UPI) — Chilean soccer star Alexis Sanchez is officially a member of Manchester United.
The Premier League squad announced the move on Monday.
Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan went to Arsenal in the exchange, landing Sanchez at Old Trafford.
“I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world,” Sanchez said in a news release from the club. “I have spent three-and-a-half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans. The chance to play in this historic stadium and to work with [United manager] Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down.”
“I am very proud to be the first Chilean player ever to play for United’s first team and I hope I can show our fans all around the world why the club wanted to bring me here.”
Mourinho heaped praise on the 29-year-old striker.
“Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world and he will complete our very young and talented group of attacking players,” Mourinho said. “He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.”
“I would like to wish Henrikh all the success and happiness that I am sure he is going to get. He is a player that we will not forget, especially for his contribution to our Europa League victory.”
Sanchez’s deal with United is for four-and-a-half years and worth more than $19.5 million after tax, according to the BBC.
The striker had 80 goals during his Arsenal career, including a team-high 30 scores last season.
Sanchez is available on Friday for United’s fourth round FA Cup match against Yeovil Town at 2:55 p.m. at Hush Park in Yeovil, England.
“Hello, Is That @Alexis_Sanchez? Welcome To @ManUtd,” United star Jesse Lingard tweeted at his new teammate Monday. “I Knew You Wanted To Come Milly Rock With The Mandem.”
Sanchez penned a long farewell to the Gunners on his social media accounts.
“I want to say thanks to the technical staff, to the medical team and all teammates with whom I shared many nice things for the club and especially those people who do not see themselves on the covers, but without them nothing would be possible, which are there to prepare food for us and take care of us day by day, those who keep our shoes clean and the grass in the best conditions,” he wrote. “Many thanks to you for helping us to improve every day. Thank you very much.”
“There are people [former club players] who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100 percent, until the last day, when I asked to the Mister to be in the team, because I wanted to be a contribution. I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn.”
“Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sanchez, Baby.”