Monday 17 December 2018

£20m signing-on fee, £10m agent fee and £14m-a-year wages* (*after tax)

United to splash out on £180m deal to secure Sanchez signature

Alexis Sanchez looks set to switch London for Manchester. Photo: Getty Images
Alexis Sanchez looks set to switch London for Manchester. Photo: Getty Images

Matt Law and James Ducker

Manchester United's breathtaking deal to sign Alexis Sanchez will be worth around £180 million if it goes through.

The Arsenal forward has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract and is now waiting to find out whether Henrikh Mkhitaryan will agree to go in the other direction, which would trigger his move to Old Trafford.

Sanchez, 29, would be paid £14 million a year after tax - just under £27 million before tax - at United. Those payments would come on top of his £30 million value, £20 million signing-on fee and a £10 million agent's fee.

That all adds up to around £180 million for a player who had entered the final six months of his Arsenal contract and goes some way to explaining why Manchester City walked away from negotiations this month.

Similarly, Chelsea, who were close to signing Sanchez last summer, would not match the figures on offer at Old Trafford, despite coach Antonio Conte admitting his admiration of the Chilean.

Despite widespread acknowledgement of the talent of the player, there is astonishment among clubs and agents over the sheer size of the monetary value involved in the Sanchez deal.

Agreement

Sanchez is now hoping that Mkhitaryan will quickly reach an agreement with Arsenal, although the Armenian wants to become the highest earner at the Emirates.

Having already sanctioned the £20 million sale of Theo Walcott to Everton, Arsenal are closing in on a move for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who wants to leave Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang is believed to have a verbal agreement to join Arsenal and the Gunners now need to agree a deal with Dortmund, who would ideally like to take Olivier Giroud in the other direction.

Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi is another potential target for Dortmund, although the Belgian is keen on a loan move to Sevilla rather than heading to Germany.

Arsenal's interest in Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan has been driven by recently-appointed head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, who helped to sign the pair for Dortmund.

But the Gunners' transfer policy has been criticised by former striker Ian Wright, who fears the club are not getting a good deal.

"Everything that is happening is being forced on them through other people," he said.

"Mkhitaryan is not a player Arsenal have been after - he's a player that Arsenal have been handed. It's the same with Aubameyang - a couple of years ago, he was on everyone's radar but now he has gone a bit cold. Then, all of a sudden, he's on Arsenal's radar - it all feels panicky for me.

"Of course they are both quality players. But if you are losing Sanchez, you need players that will hit the ground running. I'm not sure about Mkhitaryan's state of mind right now."

Manchester United, meanwhile, have begun preliminary talks with David De Gea over a fresh contract for the Spain goalkeeper.

De Gea is out of contract at the end of next season, although there is an option to extend that deal by a further 12 months.

United manager Jose Mourinho said last week that the option would be triggered if necessary but that the club would be seeking to secure De Gea's long-term future in the meantime.

It is understood that talks are at an early stage, with contact made between United and De Gea's representatives about a fortnight ago.

Option

The option in De Gea's existing £200,000-a-week deal buys United time and protection, especially if Real Madrid renew their long-standing interest in the Spaniard.

Real tried and failed to sign De Gea in 2015, when a £29 million bid that involved Keylor Navas moving to Old Trafford collapsed in the final hours of the transfer window amid much acrimony.

De Gea subsequently signed a new four-year contract with United that included the option of an extra year, but Real have maintained their interest.

Mourinho was prepared to let De Gea go last summer, only for Real to pull back from a deal as they focused their efforts on trying to fund a move for France striker Kylian Mbappe, who subsequently joined Paris Saint-Germain.

The United manager has no intention of letting De Gea leave now and spelt out his desire to keep the goalkeeper last Friday.

"It's obvious that we're not going to let the option [in De Gea's contract] disappear," said Mourinho.

"A goalkeeper like he is, and obviously a club that wants to be better and better, we are not going to let that year option go away.

"But, obviously, we are going to try to give him a contract that keeps him here for much longer than that option. I don't discuss numbers and contracts. I just say what is obvious. Anyone of you would say the same."

De Gea is represented by Jorge Mendes, who is also Mourinho's agent. Mendes was in Manchester yesterday as he went through the final details of the United manager's new contract with Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman. It is possible there could be further talks over De Gea.

Mourinho's new deal is expected to tie him to Old Trafford until June 2021, with the option of another 12 months, and there remains an outside chance of United making an announcement this week.

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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