That is according to football finance expert Professor Simon Chadwick.
Sanchez is expected to join Manchester United from Arsenal this weekend after agreeing a £500,000-a-week contract.
But Chadwick doubts he will prove to be the commercial powerhouse Paul Pogba was in 2016.
Instead, he predicts Sanchez’s influence on the pitch will be greater than off it, meaning he is likely to follow in the footsteps of Cantona and Robin van Persie and win United a Premier League crown.
“The more significant financial return that Sanchez will deliver are the points on the board he will help United gain,” Chadwick, Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford Business School, told Express Sport.
“So in one or two years, when United regain the Premier League crown and have been in the Champions League final, we can say it was the ‘Sanchez effect’ before he scored 25 goals, etc.
“Alexis Sanchez is an intangible benefit to United’s finances. The one thing we can say is they will sell lots of shirts with ‘Alexis’ on the back.
“Phil Neville said this could be comparable with the signing of Cantona. Clearly signing Cantona – admitted in a different commercial era – it was iconic and meant something symbolically and culturally to United at that point.
“And if that is true to Sanchez as well…
“This is a different era. Maybe Sanchez will become a cultural phenomenon, certainly in terms of shirt sales.”
Cantona joined United from Leeds in 1992 and helped the club win four Premier League titles.
In a similar vein, Van Persie moved from Arsenal to United in 2012 and was the catalyst to Sir Alex Ferguson’s final title triumph that season.
Neville said of Sanchez’s prospective arrival: “If you look back at Man Utd’s big signings over the decades, Cantona came out of the hat, Van Persie was a surprise, and they both helped United win titles. I think this could have a similar impact. He’s got the character to play at Old Trafford.”
And Chadwick agrees the on-field impact of Sanchez will be greater than any commercial returns – although United will still look to cash in on the Chilean’s arrival.
“In terms of the lineage, it’s there. From Cantona, to Van Persie to Sanchez,” he said.
“But the difference is, even when Van Persie was signed, commercially it was a very different era. And there are several reasons for that.
“Obviously the TV money that has come in, the way the Premier League is globalised and the rise of new markets across the world in places like China. There’s the very dramatic increase in transfer fees we got in the summer. There is the constant cost pressures that clubs are now under.
“There is a real hunger and desire to commercialise whatever property and investments they make. So while the DNA of the deal is in Van Persie or Cantona, what I’m going to be really interested in seeing is whether there is cross-fertilisation among brands.
“Some of the DNA of the deal is the intense commercialisation from it, in the same way when Paul Pogba signed.”