Earlier this month, the prevailing thought was that Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez would likely wind up with Manchester City. City certainly don’t need Sanchez right now – they’re running away with the league already – but the dynamic Chilean would’ve just added even more fuel to Pep Guardiola’s deep pool of talent.
Reports surfaced last week claiming that City’s intracity rivals, Manchester United, had planned a last-minute swoop to try and land the 29-year-old. Those reports were met with some speculation, but now it sounds as though Alexis-to-United may be close to a done deal.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said Thursday that a deal with United is “likely to happen” sometime within the next 48 hours. The deal would reportedly send Sanchez to United in exchange for midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has struggled to maintain a regular role in Jose Mourinho’s side in his year-plus in England.
While the manager believes a deal will soon be completed, Wenger did not rule out the possibility that it could still fall through. That could potentially result in Sanchez suiting up for the Gunners on Saturday when they take on Crystal Palace at the Emirates.
Despite the potential of a breakdown, it sounds as though this deal is close to happening. At this point, you’ll likely have trouble searching for a real money betting site that doesn’t list United as the heavy favorites to acquire Sanchez. City may still have interest, but United being able to offer Mkhitaryan back to Arsenal may be too much for Wenger to pass up.
During a press conference with the local press, Wenger said that he believes Mkhitaryan would be a suitable replacement for Sanchez. In 15 Premier League appearances with United this season, including 11 starts, Mkhitaryan has scored a goal and contributed 5 assists. The Armenian international joined United in the summer of 2017 for a fee nearing £30 million after a successful stint with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Wenger was also asked about the possibility of signing Dortmund striker Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang, but he declined to spill the beans. Wenger said that those talks are “better when it is secret.” He added, “You announce it when it is over the line. Nothing else is close.”
Wenger further discussed the Sanchez situation, saying, “It can happen, it can as well not happen. If it doesn’t happen, he [Sanchez] will play on Saturday. I’ve worked on transfers for 30 years, so it is likely to happen. But at any moment, at any minute, things can break down.”
It is unusual for managers to publicly discuss potential transfers before they are completed, but both Wenger and Mourinho have openly spoken about the possibility of this particular move this week. Following his side’s 3-0 triumph over Stoke on Monday, Mourinho hinted that Alexis could be coming to Old Trafford, but declined to elaborate further.
The addition of Sanchez would add some much-needed attack-minded punch to Mourinho’s squad. Mourinho has no shortage of talent at his disposal, but United are lacking a creative presence capable of playing all over the pitch the way Sanchez can. His potential addition would also take goalscoring pressure off of the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard.
In 19 Premier League appearances this season, Sanchez has scored 7 goals and added 3 assists.