By Sam McGuire, Football Whispers
Manchester United are reportedly plotting a blockbuster move for Alexis Sanchez as they look to get one over on neighbours Manchester City as well as rivals Arsenal. Jose Mourinho is prepared to agree to a £25million signing-on fee in an attempt to convince the Chilean forward to move to Old Trafford ahead of the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola had Sanchez at the top of the wish list in the summer but Arsenal, who City still claim had agreed to sell the player, rejected a bid in the region of £55million for their star man on deadline day. It was a brave stance given Sanchez’s current deal expires next summer and he’s free to open talks with clubs in January over a proposed move.
Reports have now emerged to suggest Mourinho is “desperate” to land the former Barcelona man as he puts the finishing touches to a squad he feels can compete for the Premier League crown. We asked our friends at Football Whispers to look at why giving up on Antoine Griezmann and signing Sanchez would be a masterstroke on the part of Ed Woodward.
It’s no secret that United’s list of transfer targets this summer included a wide forward. The Europa League champions wanted Griezmann to swap Madrid for Manchester but Atletico’s transfer ban put an end to their hopes. They turned their attention towards Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic but the Serie A side weren’t playing ball. They wanted to keep hold of their Croatian star and he’s now signed a new long-term deal with the club.
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There was late interest in Gareth Bale after reports suggested Real Madrid could be tempted into selling the Welshman to make room for Kylian Mbappe.
The United manager said he would ‘fight’ for Bale if Real Madrid did not play him in the Super Cup but the former Tottenham Hotspur left-back started and Mourinho insisted afterwards it was ‘game over’ for United’s hopes of signing him.
Mbappe eventually moved to Paris Saint-Germain and United weren’t able to bring in a wide forward before the transfer window closed. Not that it’s had a detrimental impact on the team this season. They’re currently joint top of the Premier League and have scored 19 goals in just six games in all competitions.
The Red Devils are rampant and goals are coming from all over the pitch. United’s inability to sign an extra attacker in the summer presented Anthony Martial with an opportunity and he’s taken it with both hands. He’s impressed and has three goals to his name already. This shouldn’t stop United from pushing on with their attempts to sign Sanchez and it doesn’t look like it will.
While Griezmann is younger than his Chilean counterpart, and perhaps more marketable, Sanchez, even with a £25million signing-on fee, could turn out to be one of the bargains of the Premier League era if he moves to Old Trafford on a free transfer next summer.
United would be getting one of the best players in the world in that particular position in his prime, Sanchez would be 29 years old by the time the move is made official.
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There would be next to no bedding in process needed because he knows the league already and he’s played under some of the most meticulous coaches in world football already. Adapting to the rigours of a Mourinho system would be a pinch of salt for a player who has operated under the guidance of Guardiola and Jorge Sampaoli in the past.
Like Griezmann he’s versatile and can play a number of positions in attack. He can lead the line, not that he would have to on a regular basis with Mourinho able to call upon Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but if the manager wanted something a little different then the Chilean gives him that option. He scored 24 league goals last season operating mainly in a central role.
Sanchez, under Mourinho’s watchful eye, could be a dangerous weapon. Especially when you consider he’d have a point to prove. He would want to punish Arsenal for keeping him when he’d made it clear he wanted to move and there may be some resentment aimed at City, who failed to do enough to get him to the club in the summer.
The fact they’re rivals to United makes this an opportunity the Red Devils simply can’t pass up. If Woodward is able to make this happen then he has yet again proven that he is one of the best at what he does behind the scenes.