Chelsea join Sanchez race
United battle to hold off rivals as suitors face £65m bill to sign striker
Chelsea are trying to hijack Manchester United's bid to sign Alexis Sanchez in another dramatic twist to this extraordinary transfer saga after Manchester City pulled out of the race for the Arsenal striker after balking at the cost of the deal.
City had been the favourites to sign Sanchez but chose to walk away after it became apparent that the cost of completing the transfer this month would exceed the £60m fee they agreed with Arsenal for the Chilean last summer only for the deal to collapse on deadline day.
United have offered Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who would prefer a return to Borussia Dortmund, as a makeweight as they seek to match Arsenal's £35m valuation of Sanchez.
They are also prepared to meet Sanchez's demand for a signing-on fee of up to £20m in addition to footing a potential £10m bill for the striker's agent, Fernando Felicevich, which would value the overall deal at £65m for a 29-year-old who is out of contract at the end of the season.
That figure does not include the reputed £400,000-a-week wages, including bonuses, that would make Sanchez the highest-paid player in the Premier League.
United remain the front-runners but they face competition from Chelsea, who have yet to be deterred by the huge costs involved in trying to sign Sanchez.