Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher exchanged frank words and opinions on Monday Night Football over Alexis Sanchez’s proposed move to Manchester United.
The Chilean forward looked set for a move to Manchester City last week, but late interest from United, followed by increased financial demands from both Sanchez and his agent Fernando Felicevich, have led City backing away from the deal and putting their rivals in pole position to get the deal over the line.
City have strongly cited the extra wages demands of Sanchez as their primary reason for the deal, especially when all parties had an agreement in place before the player and representative reneged on it. Neville, however, has taken exception to the theory that Sanchez’s head has been turned away from City and Pep Guardiola simply by the greater amount of money on offer.
“If Sanchez had two years left on his contract you’d have to pay Arsenal £75m to £80m and him £200,000 to £250,000 a week. It would cost you £100m. He’s going to cost £100m anyway so I’m not quite sure what City’s economics are, particularly when they’ve spent £50m on Kyle Walker and the package of his wages over five years might cost £80m.
“They’re willing to put more into Walker than they are Sanchez. I’m struggling to see why it doesn’t make sense for City to pay more to get Sanchez because ultimately it seems to me City think they can get him cheaper than the market would be offering for a player of that quality. That’s what doesn’t make sense to me.”
Carragher, however, doesn’t see it as being about the money, rather one of principle and a response to the conduct of Sanchez and Felicevich – having an agreement in place, and seemingly being desperate to play for Guardiola again, and then demanding more when a better financial offer comes along:
“It’s not about money. It might be for Sanchez but not for City. They’re not bothered about an extra £30m, what’s that to City? It’s absolutely nothing. It’s the fact the man, I would say, has given his word that he’s going to go to City.
“…it looks like he’s backed out of a deal and that’s why City have backed away from the deal not because of £30m. You’re the owner of Salford and if you were in Manchester City’s position and a player did that, I think you’d walk away. Or would you say we’ll match the offer?”
Neville couldn’t see how that makes sense from an economic point of view, especially as buying a player of Sanchez’s quality would cost them more in transfer fees than the £30m difference that they are walking away from:
“We’re going to pay £30m less to those three parties but we still think the player should come to us. How can that be? This is Manchester United by the way. We’re not talking about going to play for Salford, we’re talking about one of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United.
“They’ve offered £30m more and it’s still a very attractive proposition. I get City’s point around the morals but for them to go and sign another Sanchez style player it’s going to cost them £130m to £140m.
“I’m struggling to understand where Manchester City, who in the past have been aggressive, in competing with United for players, are coming from in saying they won’t go any further for Sanchez.”
The full debate can be seen in the video below. On the Sanchez deal, meanwhile, Man City have backed out and while Chelsea have reportedly made a late play for the 29-year-old, all signs point to Man United being too far down the road on the transfer for anything to scupper it now.
Then again, that’s probably what Man City thought too…
In our first Mixer Irish Football Podcast of 2018, we discuss Martin O’Neill’s rejection of the Stoke job and what that means for his Ireland role, a new era at Limerick and all of the latest League of Ireland transfer news.