Against the odds, Alexis Sanchez may still be on the move to Manchester this month – but not to the Etihad.
The Chilean forward is almost certain to leave Arsenal either in this window or on a free transfer in the summer, and while Manchester City were overwhelming favourites to sign him all along, a row over finances might just have opened the door for Manchester United.
The runaway Premier League leaders are extremely reluctant to go above the £20m they value Sanchez at given his current contract situation. That is well below the £35m that Arsenal would be looking for, and while a compromise of around £25-30m could be found to satisfy both parties, that might still be more than City are willing to pay.
The financial demands of agent Fernando Felicevich are also believed to be a major stumbling block, particularly as Felicevich would undoubtedly feel that both he and his client should be entitled to a massive signing-on fee given the amount of money that Man City would save compared to what would normally be the 29-year-old’s “true worth.”
Sanchez and his agent would have to lower their demands, or face the possibility that Man City could walk away for now. City’s hand is strengthened by the recent news that Gabriel Jesus’ injury isn’t quite as bad as first feared, lessening Pep Guardiola’s immediate need for another forward and making them more receptive to waiting until the summer to potentially sign the former Barcelona man for nothing.
With Man City, off the table, however, Man United would have a free run at trying to convince Sanchez to join them this month. Given the fact that they need him more than City do they would probably be in a position to outbid City, as well as paying the player more in wages, so it then comes down to a case of convincing him. Alexis has long had his heart set on a move to Man City, but if it becomes a choice between joining Man United now or staying at Arsenal until the end of the season and then joining Man City, he may end up selecting the former.