Phil Neville has noted that Alexis Sanchez would be an unbelievable signing for Manchester United, insisting his arrival could have a similar impact to that of Robin van Persie in 2012.
Manchester City appeared to be in the driving seat to sign the Chile international but reports on Thursday revealed that Man United had tabled an improved offer.
The Premier League leaders are unwilling to improve their offer of £20m, giving Jose Mourinho a free run at signing Arsenal’s biggest goal threat in January – although any deal is contingent on Arsene Wenger securing a replacement in time.
And Neville, speaking on Friday, noted that pinching Sanchez from under Man City’s nose would serve as an emphatic statement.
“I was blown away really, because everyone thought he was going to the blue half of Manchester,” he said.
“It’s pretty obvious he’s not going to stay at Arsenal. I think if United were going to buy him, £25m would be an absolute snip.
“United missed out on buying Ivan Perisic in the summer, and with that missed out on a winger. I think Sanchez provides the quality, the goals and the world-class ability he has got.
“I think it would be absolutely unbelievable signing. If you look back at Man Utd’s big signings over the decades, Cantona came out of the hat, Van Persie was a surprise, and they both helped United win titles.
“I think this could have a similar impact. He’s got the character to play at Old Trafford. It would be a coup, particularly for United fans, to have a player like Sanchez potentially come to them over City. It would be a strong statement.”
Where Sanchez goes next is firmly in the balance. You sense his first choice remains City, but they have refused to improve their offer given he only has six months left on his contract. Pep Guardiola has essentially put the ball in the forward’s court, asking him to choose between love and money.
Should his interests lie with the latter, United are in pole position to sign him. But we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Sanchez – and Arsenal, who you imagine would be reluctant to sell him for nothing in the summer – eventually accepting the offer tabled by City, currently playing a game of ‘who blinks first’ with the Gunners.
Mourinho, in the meantime, will pressure the board into tabling an offer Sanchez cannot refuse.