Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United reportedly moved a huge step closer on Friday night.
The Chilean forward is due to complete a £35m transfer to Old Trafford in the coming days, with John Cross of the Mirror now suggesting that the deal to take Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the other direction is now a totally separate transfer.
Arsenal had named Sanchez in the squad to face Crystal Palace on Saturday, despite his absence against Bournemouth last weekend, but that will apparently now not be the case as he embarks on his move to Manchester.
The deals being separate will have serious repercussions for the time line of how this all goes down. With Sanchez already believed to have agreed terms with Man United and the buying club prepared to meet the financial demands of both Arsenal and the player’s representatives, there appears to be very little in the way of that deal being finalised.
Indeed, the report goes on to suggest that the 29-year-old’s medical could take place on Saturday ahead of the deal being announced either later that day or the following day.
The prospect of a straight swap proved problematic, not least due to the intervention of one Mino Raiola. Mkhitaryan’s agent has always maintained that his client is the more important player in the deal, but swap deals are difficult to pull off at the best of times.
Mkhitaryan is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, and has been left out of the squad to face Burnley as Jose Mourinho fully expects him to be gone soon. The move to Arsenal is still expected to go ahead, but may take a bit longer than Sanchez’s deal as Raiola looks for the best deal possible for both himself and his client.
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.