Man United tipped to beat City to Sanchez signing

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Manchester United appeared to be closing in on Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez on Monday, leading the chase to sign the Chile international ahead of long-time suitors and local rivals Manchester City.If the transfer goes ahead it would be the third blockbuster move of the January transfer window involving Premier League clubs following Philippe Coutinho’s big-money move from Liverpool to Barcelona and Virgil Van Dijk’s arrival at Anfield from Southampton.Sanchez, 29, looks to have played his last game for Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger saying on Sunday that his move could be confirmed “in the next 48 hours”.However there is uncertainty as to whether he will pick the blue or red half of Manchester.Pep Guardiola’s City, whose move for the player collapsed at the end of the summer transfer window, are understood to be reluctant to pay a reported fee in the region of £35 million ($48 million, 39 million euros) for a player who is out of contract at the end of the season.United boss Jose Mourinho has done nothing to rule out his interest in Sanchez, calling him a “phenomenal player” and admitting that if there is a “fantastic opportunity” to sign a top player in the January transfer window, the club would be interested.– Makeweight Mkhitaryan? –And there was speculation on Monday that Mourinho was prepared to let United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan move south to London club Arsenal in order to help get the deal done.It certainly looked as if Mkhitaryan was on his way out of Old Trafford after he failed to even make the bench for Monday’s Premier League game at home to Stoke City.“I would lie if I said it was a pure tactical decision. It was just a choice of the players that we know, in this moment, they have 100 percent their heads in Manchester United,” said Mourinho as he explained the Armenian’s absence. “I don’t think it’s easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future.“It’s added pressure that a player doesn’t need, so I think it’s the best for him and for us, while the doubt is in the air, to protect him.”Runaway Premier League leaders City boast a dazzling array of attacking talent with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero vying for places.Sanchez would certainly feature for City, who lost their unbeaten Premier League record at Anfield on Sunday, as they chase silverware on four fronts but he would probably struggle to pin down a permanent starting berth at the Etihad.Second-placed United, who are 15 points behind City, also have an impressive selection of forwards but Sanchez could expect more playing time alongside Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford, with doubts growing over the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic following his recent return from a long-term injury.Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2014 and in a stellar 2016/17 campaign scored 30 goals and made 17 assists, though his form has since dipped.His loss would be a major blow for Arsenal, who face losing another big-name player to one of the Manchester clubs after Robin van Persie swapped the Emirates for Old Trafford in 2012.A number of Arsenal players have also joined City in recent years including Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure.Wenger left Sanchez out of his squad to face Bournemouth on Sunday, where they slipped to a damaging 2-1 defeat, leaving them eight points off the top four.Arsenal themselves have been linked with a £35 million move for Bordeaux forward Malcom but Wenger, who said the club would need a replacement if Sanchez were to leave, refused to confirm his interest in the Brazilian.Share on: WhatsApplast_img

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