Sunday 23 September 2018

Alexis Sanchez likely to join Man United within 48 hours as Jose Mourinho says move is 'so close' to completion

Alexis Sanchez and (inset) Aubameyang
Alexis Sanchez and (inset) Aubameyang

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger expects Alexis Sanchez to formally become a Manchester United player within 48 hours after the Chile striker travelled to Manchester today to complete swap deal that will see Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal.

Sanchez trained with Arsenal yesterday for the last time and, although Wenger said that he had been tempted to include him in his squad that beat Crystal Palace 4-1, the 29-year-old was given permission to finally end his three-and-a-half years at Arsenal.

“I was tempted but I didn't take him because there is the question of him moving to Manchester United,” said Wenger. “You cannot drive up north and as well play football. The next 48 hours will be decided one way or another. If you want to have a bet, it could happen. It happens only one way if the other way [Mkhitaryan] happens. It must be coordinated.”

Speaking after United's 1-0 win over Burnley, Jose Mourinho said of signing Sanchez: "I expect soon or never. I think it's so close, so close - so close that if it doesn't happen (soon) it's not going to happen.

"So I am positive, I know that my people are doing everything, absolutely everything they can - the owners with the green light, Mr (Ed) Woodward's working hard.

"I think everybody is giving everything they can and I think they are going to be successful."

Arsenal are also ready to increase their bid for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a first £45 million offer was rejected by Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang has been left out of Dortmund’s last two Bundesliga matches amid concerns both at his focus and discipline but Arsenal will probably need to surpass their existing £52 million club record fee for Alexandre Lacazette to complete the deal.

Dortmund want around £55 million for a striker who has scored 21 goals already this season in 23 games and has also scored at least 25 times in each of the past three seasons.

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke confirmed that Arsenal have made a bid following complaints that Wenger had acted disrespectfully on Thursday in answering a question about Aubameyang.

“That [complaint] looks to be a tactical reaction rather than anything else – they are responsible for their own statements,” said Wenger. Asked if Olivier Giroud could be part of the Aubameyang deal, Wenger said: “No. We are nowhere near anything with Dortmund.”

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