Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez will leave the club amid interest from both Manchester clubs but made it clear that no agreement had been reached with anybody at this moment in time.
The Chile international, who came close to joining up with Pep Guardiola in the summer, was reportedly nearing a move to the Ethiad this month, with Arsenal preparing for his departure by pursuing Bordeaux forward Malcom.
But it emerged on Thursday that Manchester United had entered the race and offered Arsenal an improved offer of £25m along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as a bigger wage package for Sanchez.
And Wenger, when asked about Sanchez’s predicament, admitted that his main goal threat was heading elsewhere but insisted that no agreement had been reached yet.
“It is always beneficial to the [selling] club who can take advantage,” he said.
“I maintain what I have said many times that he should stay until the end of the season. But we will see. Honestly, I can’t tell you much more at the moment about the situation. Nothing is concrete at the moment.
“I don’t want to give you wrong information. Nothing is decided.”
This story has somewhat exploded out of nowhere and, as such, a litany of slightly contrasting stories have emerged.
One angle suggests that Man City, still in pole position to sign Sanchez, are negotiating an appropriate package that aligns with the offer made by Man United.
Gianluca di Marzio, on the other hand, has claimed that United are now leading the race to sign the 29-year-old having made progress with regard to his wage demands.
Mourinho is demonstrating serious ambition by swooping for Sanchez in such emphatic fashion and, if the reports are true, United’s sizeable offer suggests that his calls on the board for greater investment last month have worked.
But it ought to be recognised that nothing with Sanchez can happen until Arsenal secure a replacement – a project that will, you sense, require more time and could drag on until the summer, when the forward would be a free agent.