Manchester United are currently firm favourites for Alexis Sanchez’s signature, who looks as if his time at The Emirates is finally coming to an end this month. United are currently in discussions with Arsenal for a £30 million deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan reportedly going the other way.
Sanchez, who has only 6 months remaining on his current contract, has been eager for a move since the back-end of last season where Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League. This, however, coincided with a superb season for Sanchez, who finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 30 goals in all competitions. Sanchez’s discontent has been no secret this season which has often been multiplied by his on-field frustrations and the lack of interest in a new contract to keep him in North London. On Monday, as a result of the ongoing transfer negotiations, Sanchez was left out of Arsenal’s match-day squad vs Bournemouth, a game which Arsenal subsequently lost 2-1.
Sanchez’s most likely destination throughout this saga had been Manchester City – which has looked like a match made in heaven. Sanchez knows Guardiola from their time together at Barcelona and you’d imagine City will be looking to strengthen that winger position in coming windows to provide more competition for Sterling and Sane. However, according to The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson, Man City’s interest has fizzled out over apparent wage and agent fee demands. Chelsea and Liverpool have also shown interest, though Manchester United look front-runners.
Manchester City dropping interest in Sanchez comes as a surprise not only because Sanchez’s ideal resort would be City or Sanchez’s goal-scoring ability and pace looked perfect for a wide role in one of City’s front 3, but the cut-price fee seemed a perfect opportunity for City to bolster their attack with a proven Premier League star. When City look to improve their forward options in the summer it is likely they may have to pay two/three times that amount to find a player of the same pedigree, not to mention losing out on him will likely benefit their arch rivals.
Arsenal’s and City’s loss ultimately looks like United’s gain – the finances seem to be no stumbling block for them and will be more than happy to pip their rivals to his signature. One potential hiccup, however, could lie with Mkhitaryan who is reported to be part of the deal between Arsenal and United and if he has no interest in staying in the Premier League then this could put the negotiations in jeopardy. But, even so, the fact Sanchez is happy to not choose his first choice shows the extent to which he wants his exit from Arsenal concluded this window.
Wenger says Alexis Sanchez to United is ‘likely’ in the next 24 hours. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) January 18, 2018
Arsenal now seem to have admitted defeat regarding Sanchez, the risk of keeping the Chilean against his will this season has marred much of their season in the media, it is now their job to find a replacement or two to keep their target of a top 4 finish alive.
By Tommy Joyce