Sunday 22 July 2018

Final twist in Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal may allow both clubs to claim they are emerging victorious

Alexis Sanchez set to move to Manchester United after he 'said his farewells' to his Arsenal team-mate
Alexis Sanchez set to move to Manchester United after he 'said his farewells' to his Arsenal team-mate
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that he is satisfied with his club's end of the deal that will see Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan sign for the Gunners.

Both players are preparing to undergo medicals with their new clubs after a whirlwind of transfer activity in recent days, with Sanchez set to sign the richest contract in Premier League history as he moves to United.

Yet reports that his deal is worth £500,000-a-week will be put into fresh perspective after it emerged United will not pay Arsenal a penny to sign the Chilean international, who is out of contract this summer.

That means the £35m fee that was being mentioned in reports earlier this week has been waived by Arsenal as they bid to emerge from the transaction with a prize of their own in the shape of Armenian international Mkhitaryan.

Wenger tried to sign Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund before he moved to United in the summer of 2016 and if he was put up for sale now, the Gunners would have to pay a fee in excess of £40m to sign him.

Yet it is now emerging that they will not pay United any fee for Mkhitaryan, allowing both players to set up lucrative contracts that will include windfall payments for each year of their deals.

In essence, this has become a deal that was too good for both clubs, the players involved and their agents to walk away from, with Wenger hinting he is happy with the deal after his side's 4-1 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"Sanchez will only happen if Mkhitaryan comes. That's why it takes longer," said Wenger, as he hinted at a straight swap deal not involving transfer fees.

"I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He certainly appreciated the quality of our game, and the way we play football.”

Both Mourinho and United boss Jose Mourinho have suggested the deals will be completed in the next 48 hours, with Sanchez in Manchester ahead of his medical and Mkhitaryan in London as he prepares to finalise the move.

All that is now required is confirmation of the deal from the two clubs and that could come as early as Sunday.

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