Belfast Telegraph

Mourinho is out to steal Sanchez from under City's noses

By Matt McGeechan

Manchester United are ready to hijack any Manchester City move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

Former Barcelona ace Sanchez (29) is out of contract at the Emirates this summer and has been linked with a switch to City in the current transfer window.

United boss Jose Mourinho recently bemoaned his club's inability to invest up to "£700m" in new players, claiming Premier League leaders City have the advantage of unlimited spending power.

Beating Pep Guardiola to Sanchez's capture would therefore represent a major coup for the Old Trafford side and for Mourinho.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been offered as a makeweight in any deal with Arsenal.

The Armenian international has struggled to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford and Arsenal are keen on the former Borussia Dortmund forward.

Inter Milan are also considering a loan move for Mkhitaryan.

Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, has given the Gunners a boost amid the uncertainty over Sanchez after announcing that he expects to make a swift return and banishing any concerns over his ankle worry.

The midfielder, who was captain for the night, went off in the second half of Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

He suffered an ankle sprain when making a block, and the setback made him a doubt for Sunday's Premier League match with Bournemouth, where he spent last season on loan.

But Wilshere believes he will soon be back in action.

He wrote on Twitter yesterday evening: "Thanks for all the messages and support after last night. Good news is I should be back in a couple of days".

It remains to be seen whether Wilshere is considered for the Bournemouth game, but there seems little danger of him being sidelined by the time Crystal Palace visit on January 20.

After the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, defender Rob Holding is optimistic Arsenal can progress to the final.

"I think it's a good result for us to take back to the Emirates in the second leg, where we can hopefully nick a goal and get the win and make the final," Holding said.

"We had a point to prove. We came under scrutiny with our defensive display in the (Forest) game, so it was big to just get a clean sheet and have a solid game.

"We knew we couldn't (afford to) lose. A draw is a great result to take back."

Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, the 20-year-old signed last week from PAS Giannina, was on the bench.

Arsene Wenger's initial intention had been to loan him out, but he has changed his mind.

"I want to keep him until May, to know him better, to assess his level," the Frenchman said. "The first signs he has shown in training are encouraging."

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