UPDATE: As the plot twists and turns with the fluidity of Jesse Lingard's dance moves, the Alexis Sanchez story has stepped up another level as Manchester City have officially ended their interest in the Chilean as they see the price tag of £35 too much for a man they could potentially get for free in the summer. The Sky Blues have risked this move despite their arch rivals, Manchester United now moving in on a deal with the Gunners.
As I mentioned previously, Mhkitarayan is key to the deal as the United look to do a swap deal with the north London club which could prove to be a strong move by Arsenal as they look close to be signing former Borussia Dortmund teamate of Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Die Borussen, this month.
Yet, like every major transfer story. more clubs have to enter the race and hot off Conte's war of words with Mourinho in recent weeks, Chelsea have also expressed interest in Sanchez and are now priced at 3/1. Whether this is a serous intention from the club or a move by Conte to gazump the offer made by Manchester United, only time will tell. One thing is for sure, we can only hope that the twists keep coming. JH
Our man Jonathon Hague takes a look at the options Arsenal can explore with Alexis Sanchez and the ongoing transfer saga surroudning the Chilean.
As we enter mid-January, the transfer window whirlwind is whipping up yet another storm and the one that keeps coming back for more is Alexis Sanchez and his "will he, won't he" odessey that has more twists and turns than a M. Night Shyamalan film. One minute he is going to Manchester City to link up his previous boss at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola; the next he is heading to PSG to join the new Galaticos, or 'Galactiques' as you will, at PSG.
Manchester United seem to have other ideas, as they continue their quest to be linked with every player on the planet. On Thursday, it was reported that the Red Devils had submitted a bid to Arsenal with out-of-favour midfielder, Henrikh Mkhitaryan offered at part of the deal.
Wenger is keeping his cards closer to his chest as he was asked if United were interested in signing the Chilean in this window: "Honestly, I cannot tell you much more about this situation. Nothing is really concrete at the moment.
“It’s not that I don’t want to inform you. I don’t want to give you wrong information and at the moment I must say nothing is decided one way or the other.
“A bidding war is always beneficial to the club who can take advantage of it. We are not in that.”
Man City's interest in Sanchez is not a secret, with Pep keen to work with Alexis again. However, with injury to Gabriel Jesus and Guardiola's insistance in having like-for-like competition in each position, you can be sure that that Blue side of Manchester will look to use their commanding position in the league and long-term ambition to dominate in Europe to their advantage in this market.
The ball is clearly in Arsenal's court as, despite Wenger's claim that they do not want to be involved in a bidding war, the club will wait for the bid that suits them. That bid could be the one including Mkhitaryan from Manchester United.
With the North London club relying on a clearly unsettled Mesut Ozil to deliver their creativity in midfield, the Armenian would offer Arsenal another option just behind the striker and would suit the player that has fallen down the pecking order down to a tee. Mourinho's defensive first mentality doesn't fit with the attack minded Mkhitarayan, and a move to the Emerates could be the antidote he needs to the so-called 'anti-football' critics have labelled the Portugese's style.
While the Gunners appear to be in the mist of a crisis on and off the field, it's easy to forget that they have been a mainstay in the top 4 for the past 20 years, the 2016/17 season was the first time under Wenger that the club failed to qualify for the Champions League. The question Arsenal need to ask themselves is whether they want to keep Sanchez to steak a claim for the Europa League title, or do they wish to recuperate costs for a player that will inevitably leave on a free in the summer?
As the team look off the pace of the Top 4 this season, Arsenal need to focus on giving the Europa League the attention it deserves. Currently, they sit second favourites behind a recent rejuvinated Atletico Madrid team at 6/1 and with Manchester United earning £12.7m prize money from their 2-0 win over Ajax last year, keeping Alexis for six more months might be a gamble worth paying.
If I was Wenger I would look to keep the disgruntled player until the end of his contract and look to be in the pot for next year's Champions League, but I wouldn't put your money there. It still looks certain that Alexis will be in Manchester by the close of the window.
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