Tag: Arsenal

Henrikh Mkhitaryan agrees swap with Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal

Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has agreed to join Arsenal, with Alexis Sanchez set to move in the opposite direction in a direct player swap.

Sanchez, who was initially named in Arsenal’s match-day squad to face Crystal Palace on Saturday, was allowed to leave the team hotel late on Friday night after being told by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger that there had been a breakthrough in negotiations over his transfer to Manchester United.

The player subsequently travelled north to complete his medical at Manchester while a deal to bring Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Emirates Stadium in exchange is also nearing completion.

Armenia international Mkhitaryan, 28, will have a medical over Sunday and Monday, while Chile forward Sanchez, 29, will have his on Sunday.

Sanchez is believed to be signing a contract at Old Trafford worth as much as £14m a year after tax, or £500,000 per week, having at first seemed poised to join City. On the other hand, the length of Mkhitaryan’s contract and his salary remains undisclosed.

An announcement is now expected in the next 48 hours.

Mkhitaryan previously signed for the United for £26.3m from Borussia Dortmund in July 2016, and has made 63 appearances for United — 22 this season — scoring 13 goals.

Sanchez, meanwhile, scored 80 goals in 166 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal since joining them from Barcelona for £35m in July 2014.

The Chile international, whose contract Arsenal was due to expire in the summer, had looked set to join Manchester City last August and earlier this month, before it emerged this week that City had decided not to pursue their interest in signing Sanchez during the current transfer window.

Manchester City to end pursuit of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City has chose to quit the pursuit of their interest in signing Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez after the club have decided the cost of pursuing the Chile International would be prohibitively expensive.

It was understood that City anager Pep Guardiola, the club’s owner Khaldoon al Mubarak and other senior officials are all in agreement that the wages being demanded by Sanchez would have put him ahead of all City’s star men, something the club decided they would not do.

Their departure from the bid war thus leaves Manchester United as frontrunners to sign the former FC Barcelona player, with the Reds Devils indicating that they are willing to meet the Gunners’ £35m asking price for the forward.

United’s prospective terms are also thought to include Henrikh Mkhitaryan being part of a swap deal.

Additionally, there is still yet to be concrete base for a deal; after his side’s 3-0 victory over Stoke on Monday night, United manager Jose Mourinho  commented on the transfer saga ambiguously: “There is no news on Sanchez. He is an Arsenal player; if he stays it’s great for Arsenal, if he comes to us, great for us, if he goes to another club, great for them.”

“There are probably other clubs also interested and trying and I shouldn’t talk about a player who is an Arsenal player. I am not confident but also not unconfident. If he moves I think we have a chance.”

However, City still believes that Sanchez would prefer to join them, given his past relationship with Guardiola and the fact he pushed to join them in the summer, but they view it as highly unlikely Sanchez will drop his financial demands to a level that would allow them to resume talks.

Arsene Wenger: Jose Mourinho should learn to cope with richer clubs

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has told Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho that the Portuguese should learn to cope after Wenger himself spent the duration of his 21 years at Arsenal in the shadow of the Premier League’s financial elite.

Following a 2-2 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford, Mourinho said that his lavish spending on players since he took charge at Manchester United in the summer of last year — which stands at £261m — was not enough to level the playing field with Manchester City.

A shade of schadenfreude flashed as Wenger smiled broadly at his old rival’s plea of poverty, before saying that a manager simply had to find other ways to close the gap.

“I have been in that position for 21 years, so I will not start to complain now,” Wenger, 68, offered. “There is always one team, sometimes four, who were richer than I was, so I learned to cope with that and to deal with that.”

“I think what is most important is you deal with your own situation as well as you can and, yes, Manchester City are richer than us; yes, Chelsea are richer than us and Manchester United are richer than us but I still believe we have to find a way to be successful.”

However, Wenger himself did not rule out making a new signing in January, although he anticipated that he would be busier fielding enquiries about his fringe players.

“I will be busy, yes, because first of all you have clubs that call you to get players on loan or to buy your players,” he added. “As well, I’m open-minded to any possibility to strengthen our team.”

After seeing the Gunners win 2-3 at Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger also said that he is not worried over losing Alexis Sanchez next month as the player’s contract expires at the end of the season.

“I am not fearful but that will be a subject that arises because of his contractual situation,” said Wenger, who equalled Sir Alex Ferguson’s record of 810 games managed in the Premier League after the games against Palace.