Jose Mourinho targeted Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez in order to get one over Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, claims Matt Le Tissier.
Manchester United’s cross-city title rivals were expected to sign Sanchez either this month or in the summer when the Chilean’s contract at the Emirates was set to expire.
However, United swooped in at the start of January and initially offered Arsenal more money than City did. The transfer has now evolved into a straight player-swap deal, a rare occurrence in elite European football, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way.
Le Tissier claimed United wanting to beat City to a player was part of the reason they tried to bring in Sanchez.
“I think that probably has played a little part,” he said on Sky Sports.
“If they felt there was a small chance that they could nick somebody off Manchester City when everybody expected that deal to happen as soon as the window opened.
“I think there was a little bit of one-upmanship there and fair play to them.
“But they’ve had to pay a lot of money to get that bit of one-upmanship.”
For a football club to be willing to spend in excess of £350,000-a-week on wages, far more than one-upmanship is required. If it played any part at all, it will have been minimal in the decision-making process.
In reality, United are closing in on a deal for Sanchez because he’s a world-class player who adds guaranteed quality to a squad with plenty of potential but one that is lacking the consistency of performances.
He’s a 25 goal a season player, and that’s often from the wide areas not even as a main striker, and a player with the winning mentality that must be instilled in quite a young United side.
Even key players like Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are under 25, while defenders Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are both 22 with other young players in Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay. Sanchez will be the short-term impact of guaranteed quality, and could fill the Eric Cantona-role of helping a young squad to their first real success.