United’s swoop for Sanchez depends on Mkhitaryan, says agent
Mkhitaryan was left out of Manchester United’s squad to face Stoke on Monday because there is uncertainty over his future.
Manchester United’s bid to bring Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford hinges on Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction, according to the Armenian’s agent.
United boss Jose Mourinho admitted on Monday night that his side “have a chance” to sign Sanchez in this window, with previous suitors Manchester City understood to have now exited the race for the 29-year-old due to the cost involved.
There has been speculation Mkhitaryan will be offered as a makeweight from United to land Sanchez, and Mourinho left the playmaker out of the squad to face Stoke on Monday due to “doubts about his future”.
Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola has now claimed that Sanchez’s transfer to United is reliant on his client joining Arsenal as part of the deal.
City were not prepared to get into a bidding war with other clubs for Sanchez. Sanchez did want to join City, they believe, but his priority is simply to leave Arsenal. Man Utd & Chelsea thought to be other clubs interested #MCFC— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) January 15, 2018
“Manchester United are not going to sign Sanchez unless Mkhi agrees to join Arsenal,” 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.
“Sanchez is part of the Mkhi deal, not the other way around.”
Mkhitaryan was one of Mourinho’s first signings in the summer of 2016 but has struggled for consistency.
He scored 11 goals last term having started just one Premier League game in the first four months of the campaign. After beginning this season brightly, providing five assists in the first three top-flight games, Mkhitaryan’s form has once again dipped and he has not scored for Mourinho’s side since September.
“Is he going to be involved in one deal and leave us? It’s possible but it’s also possible that he stays,” Mourinho told Sky Sports after the 3-0 win over Stoke.
The Portuguese added in his press conference: “I didn’t select him because I wanted players fully focused.
“I understand that with so much talk and so much speculation, it is not easy for Mkhitaryan to play, to play at home, with this feeling that (it) can happen, maybe it doesn’t happen.
“So I prefer to protect him and protect the situation, and in the end of the transfer market, if he stays here, he is a very good player. Let’s see what is going to happen.”
United appear to be the last club standing in the race to acquire Sanchez, whose deal in north London runs out at the end of the season.
Press Association Sport understands City, who tried to sign Sanchez for a package worth £60million in the summer, withdrew their interest having hoped to agree a fee of around £20million.
It is thought Arsenal quoted £35million and City were unwilling to match the figures being offered by other clubs, with the fee, wages and potential player exchange costing more than they originally offered the Gunners in the summer.
And suggestions Chelsea had thrown their hat into the ring were then downplayed by Blues boss Antonio Conte on Tuesday when the Italian said he did not think they were attempting to sign Sanchez. As for United, on Monday night Mourinho was “relaxed” about whether Sanchez would move there this month.
Asked how confident he was the transfer would be completed, Mourinho replied: “Not confident, but also not unconfident.
“Just relaxed, and with the feeling that he is an Arsenal player, with the feeling that he can stay there, but also with the feeling that he can move, and if he moves, I think we have a chance.”