Manchester United are increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, with sources telling ESPN FC that Jose Mourinho first raised the prospect of using Henrikh Mkhitaryan as leverage for a deal last summer.
Sanchez was left out of Arsenal’s squad for Sunday’s Premier League encounter with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, prompting speculation that a £35m move away from the Emirates is now drawing closer.
Speaking before the match, Arsene Wenger said: “He is being vague at the moment. His situation is not completely decided one way or the other.
“Yes, don’t read too much into it because I don’t know what way it’ll go. You want to focus on the players who are on the pitch.”
Manchester City had been regarded as the favourites to sign the 29-year-old forward this month, but senior figures at the Etihad told ESPN FC on Friday that the Premier League leaders would not pursue a move for the Chilean unless Arsenal substantially dropped their £35m asking price for a player with less than six months remaining on his contract.
City, who value Sanchez at £20m, are also refusing to meet the financial demands of Sanchez’s representatives to complete the deal — figures understood to be in the region of £5m — and are prepared to walk away from the transfer unless manager Pep Guardiola chooses to make a late personal intervention to attempt to negotiate a breakthrough with the player’s camp.
City’s stance has put United in pole position to win the race for Sanchez, who is determined to leave Arsenal this month rather than wait to move as a free agent in the summer.
But despite United’s apparent eleventh-hour move for Sanchez, sources have told ESPN FC that the club has been quietly attempting to beat City to the player since last August.
Source: ESPN FC