Manchester United might not have to give Arsenal a penny for Alexis Sanchez
New information has emerged on Manchester United's pursuit of Alexis Sanchez.
United saw off one competitor in the race for Sanchez's signature when arch-rivals Manchester City, who were initially favourites to sign the Chile international, walked away from the deal on Monday night.
Chelsea made a late bid to hijack the transfer but it's understood that Old Trafford is the most likely destination for the 29-year-old, whose contract with Arsenal is up at the end of the season.
It was originally believed that United were offering a cash plus player deal for Sanchez, with Jose Mourinho content to offload Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January after the Armenia international fell out of favour.
But, apparently, the Red Devils will not have to give a single penny to Arsenal because the deal would be a straight swap - Sanchez for Mkhitaryan - with no fee involved.
Sky Sources: Deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkitharyan would be a straight swap with no fee. #SSN pic.twitter.com/fUpuOgYzuH
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 16, 2018
Apparently the only thing holding the switch up is Mkhitaryan, who has yet to decide whether or not a move to the Emirates would appeal to him and benefit his career.
"Manchester United are not going to sign Sánchez unless Mkhi agrees to join Arsenal," Mkhitaryan's agent Mino Raiola told the Times.
"Mkhi is going to do what is best for him. He has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, so it’s his decision."
United paid Borussia Dortmund £30 million for Mkhitaryan in 2016 but the 28-year-old's value has presumably decreased since then, with inconsistency turning him into a frustrating figure among supporters.
It's ironic that Mourinho, who has been accused of treating Mkhitaryan with disrespect at times, is now dependent on the player to get United's top target in the January window.
"Sánchez is part of the Mkhi deal, not the other way around," Raiola said.