Inter Milan are keen to sign Alexis Sanchez on a permanent transfer but a deal could hinge on Manchester United's willingness to give their misfit striker a pay-off.
Sanchez (31) joined Inter on loan last August after a calamitous 18 months at Old Trafford following his move from Arsenal and, after an injury-plagued start in Italy, he has found form and happiness again.
Inter coach Antonio Conte recently described Sanchez as a "rediscovered footballer" and his faith in the Chilean has been rewarded with three goals and seven assists in the past nine games as the club target a first top-three finish for nine years.
Sanchez is due back at United on August 7 and still has just under two years to run on his £560,000-a-week (€617,000) contract, but while Conte and Inter want to sign him, they cannot do so on those terms.
United are already contributing about £175,000 a week towards Sanchez's wages at Inter and, with the forward not wanted by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has made Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund winger, his priority summer transfer target, the club are desperate to get him off their wage bill to free up cash.
If honoured, Sanchez's contract until June 2022 stands to cost United in excess of £50m and may mean the club seeking to negotiate a settlement with the player.
There is a willingness on behalf of all parties to try to reach an agreement but, unless Sanchez can be persuaded to take a hefty pay cut to join Inter or another loan agreed on more favourable terms, United may have to swallow a pay-off.
Yet Sanchez feels wanted by Conte and Inter, and is happy in Milan, which could all prove important factors in trying to strike a compromise.
Inter play their final Serie A match of the season against Atalanta on Saturday and it is understood Sanchez will be available for the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie with Getafe in Gelsenkirchen four days later before returning to Manchester.
© Daily Telegraph, London