Alexis Sanchez’s transfer to Manchester United is ‘likely’ to happen, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman also confirmed that the deal will be a straight swap of players with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way.
There have been worries that Arsenal will Utd not give Mkhitaryan the pay raise his agent, Mino Raiola, was requesting and that that could hold up the deal. Wenger assured reporters that wages will not be an issue.
Speaking at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground, Wenger indicated that the transfer will go through in the next 24 hours or not at all.
“It can happen, it can as well not happen. If it doesn’t happen, he will play on Saturday,” Wenger said, before adding that “it is likely to happen but at any moment things can break down.
“As long as it’s not over the line you have to accept it may not happen.”
Questioned over the involvement of Man United’s Armenian forward Mkhitaryan in the deal, Wenger revealed his admiration of the player.
“It’s a possibility because I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He appreciated the quality of our games. The wages would not be a problem,” Wenger insisted.
The Arsenal boss has come as close to confirming the deal as h can without an official announcement. He explained he has worked on football transfers for 30 years and was thus wary of saying it would definitely go through, but that it is likely.
Importantly, Wenger was commenting directly on Sanchez joining United, not simply the Chilean leaving to one of a number of possible suitors.
The situation now is that Sanchez will join United in the next couple of days, or not at all, until at least this summer when his contract expires.
It’s thought that he will earn in excess of £250,000 after tax and will be given a £20m signing on fee, double that of his agent, Raiola, who will earn £10m from the deal.
They are big numbers, but with United not having to pay a transfer fee for a world-class player and a footballer in the top five in the Premier League, they’re acceptable similarly, United will be signing a player midway through the season, when prices are always inflated, and one that is eligible to play in the UEFA Champions League.
There is no doubt that Jose Mourinho has got one over his rivals in the transfer window and that this would be an enormous boost for the club.