Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Manchester City are reportedly ready to walk away from a deal for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez and potentially give rivals Manchester United a free run at the player in January.
James Robson of the Manchester Evening News relayed the latest from what is turning into an intriguing transfer saga:
James Robson @JamesRobsonMEN
City are ready to walk away from Sanchez deal – even if it means watching him join #mufc
According to Mark Ogden of ESPN, City are only ready to pay £20 million for the Chile international this month, with his contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign.
Arsenal are said to be demanding a £35 million fee, while agent fees are reportedly set to amount to around £5 million.
Ogden provided further detail:
“With Arsenal aware of rival interest from United, there is no mood within the Emirates to reduce the price tag. City accept that Arsenal will not do business on Sanchez until they have signed a replacement, but Arsene Wenger has identified Bordeaux forward Malcom and negotiations to sign the player are progressing.”
Ogden also reports that United would be willing to include out-of-favour midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of any deal.
It was earlier reported by Sky Sports Italy (h/t David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror) that Sanchez was close to agreeing terms with United.
According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, Sanchez is ready to wait for the biggest contract offer put to him:
John Cross @johncrossmirror
Someone close to the action keeps telling me it’s all about the money with Sanchez. Guess we’re about to find out…
City’s interest in the forward has been longstanding. As noted by Ogden, they came close to signing Sanchez in the summer before a deal fell through late in the window.
They’ve been linked with the 29-year-old ever since and appeared to have little serious competition to sign Sanchez, either now or at the end of the season, when he’d be available for free.
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
United’s interest has made matters complicated for City, though, and now it appears as though they may be set to miss out on one of the Premier League’s best players.
Oliver Kay of The Times believes United would be willing to pay over the odds:
Oliver Kay @OliverKayTimes
Sanchez transfer reminding me of the Nasri saga in 2011 — except that this time #MUFC are desperate enough to be trying to gazump their rivals and #MCFC are the ones shaking their heads at the sums concerned. Funny how things change. Except Arsenal, perhaps …
In usual circumstances, the fee mentioned would be a bargain, and perhaps that’s the standpoint United boss Jose Mourinho is taking. The Arsenal No. 7 would make a massive difference at Old Trafford.
Rob Blanchette believes it’s imperative United get in another forward, especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic possibly exiting:
Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B
Cash + Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez would be a phenomenal deal for #MUFC.
Pay him wherever he and Arsenal want.
Zlatan is off and we need an attacker that can score goals and support Lukaku.
City will be hopeful the player’s determination to join them will prompt him into staying at Arsenal until the summer and then moving on a free transfer at the end of the campaign. But United will be an attractive proposition; if they have no rivals for Sanchez in this window, you’d back them to get their man.