Manchester United are in pole position to sign Alexis Sanchez after indicating they are willing to meet Arsenal’s £35m asking price for the forward.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Sunday that Sanchez’s future would be resolved ‘in the next 48 hours’ after he left the Chilean out of his side’s Premier League defeat at Bournemouth.
Manchester City is Sanchez’s preferred option but United’s willingness to meet the financial demands of both the player and his club have made them favourites to complete a deal.
Sanchez is out of contract in the summer and almost joined City for about £60m on the final day of last summer’s window, only for the transfer to collapse when Arsenal failed to sign Monaco and France midfielder Thomas Lemar.
United boss Jose Mourinho said on Friday that Sanchez is a “phenomenal player”.
He added: “What we believe is there are some players in the football world, if you have the chance to sign them in January, March or July, you have to try. And that’s it.”
City boss Pep Guardiola is keen to sign a player he worked with at Barcelona and it is not completely out of the question City could come back with another offer and turn the situation on its head again.
However, it has already been stressed City would walk away rather than put together a financial package described as “ludicrous” for a player who would be available for nothing in the summer and a change in this stance is thought to be unlikely.
“I talk about the players in my squad now,” said Guardiola after Sunday’s defeat by Liverpool.
“We have the players we have. I don’t know if we will finish with that. We have four competitions, a lot of games and we are going to try.”
“Alexis would have played, but it’s a difficult period for him,” Wenger said after the defeat at Bournemouth.
“He’s always been committed until now but he could have gone yesterday [Saturday] and he could go in the next 48 hours.
“It was difficult for him because he was on standby. That’s why I decided not to do it.
“He did not refuse to play.”
He added that if Sanchez was to leave the club then he would need to be replaced.
“If players like Sanchez go we have of course to respond,” the Frenchman said.
“Will he go or not, I don’t know, but at the moment it’s the transfer period.
“In this kind of period we try to use the players completely focused on being at the club.
“I don’t master the rhythm of that but it could happen today, tomorrow, or not at all.
“That’s why I didn’t want to travel with him, and then suddenly he could go.”