Alexis Sanchez transfer saga roundup: United in pole position, City bows out

by 1h ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal spits during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on January 3, 2018 in London, England.

Julian Finney / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Like the many protracted transfer sagas that have dominated previous signing periods, keeping up with the evolving storylines regarding Alexis Sanchez‘s reported move away from Arsenal is becoming a full-time job.

The Chilean’s departure from the Emirates Stadium this month appears to be an inevitability after he was left out of the squad ahead of Sunday’s loss to Bournemouth. Manager Arsene Wenger decided that it was best to leave him at home amid the rampant speculation over his future.

His absence paved the way for significant developments to materialize, as reports of a transfer to Manchester United have picked up steam. But that’s far from the latest bit of news to emerge over the past 24 hours.

Here’s a breakdown of the recent reports surrounding one of the most significant storylines of the January transfer window:

City to ditch Sanchez pursuit

Manchester City‘s tag as the front-runner to sign Sanchez is a thing of the past, with several outlets suggesting the Premier League leader – who was willing to pay as much as £60 million to sign him last summer – is throwing in the towel.

Despite have a bottomless pit of finances at their disposal, Jamie Jackson of the Guardian reports that City officials are prepared to walk away from the bargaining table because of the “astronomical money” that the Arsenal forward is supposedly demanding, which is made especially ludicrous since he is in the final six months of his contract before becoming a free agent.

City was initially prepared to spend as much as £20 million to complete the deal – and may have offered more in an effort to convince the Gunners to lower their £35-million valuation – but Sanchez’s financial requirement, as well as the reported £5 million that his representative, Fernando Felicevich, is demanding, has apparently brought an end to transfer negotiations.

United willing to pay Sanchez more than £18M per year

City’s assumed disassociation from Sanchez has opened the door for Manchester United.

United, which allegedly contemplated pursuing Sanchez last summer, has grown increasingly confident that a deal can be completed this month. Club officials are also willing to meet the Chilean’s wage demands.

Along with meeting Arsenal’s asking price, officials from United are said to be “happy” to offer Sanchez a pay package that would see him earn £18 million a year, and dish out another £5 million to his agent, according to Sky Sports.

Mkhitaryan to Arsenal in swap deal?

Since speculation over Sanchez’s future dominated headlines last summer, Arsenal has continuously insisted that the 29-year-old would not be sold until a suitable replacement was added to the ranks.

So, to sweeten the deal and perhaps inspire hope among its supporters, Arsenal is exploring the possibility of signing United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of a deal including Sanchez, sources revealed to Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph.

United may be inclined to allow Mkhitaryan to escape Old Trafford considering that the Armenian international has struggled this season and is reportedly at odds with manager Jose Mourinho.

Arsenal revives Aubameyang pursuit

Arsenal may be prepared to revive its pursuit of former transfer target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was left of Borussia Dortmund‘s squad Sunday for disciplinary reasons.

Sven Mislintat, Arsenal’s new head of recruitment, has made Aubameyang a top priority as a possible replacement for Sanchez, Matt Law of The Telegraph reports. Mislintat, who was instrumental in helping Dortmund recruit last season’s top scorer in the Bundesliga during his time at Dortmund, has even held discussions with Aubameyang’s representatives.

Completing the transfer could also involve a swap deal that would see Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud head to Dortmund.

Malcom’s arrival in north London may have to wait

Arsenal’s reported quest to lure Brazilian youngster Malcom to the Emirates Stadium this month could be over, as Bordeaux is reluctant to part ways with the 20-year-old while the club struggles in Ligue 1. An approach for Malcom, who could cost as much as £44 million, is expected to resume in the summer if nothing materialises this month.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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