Alexis Sanchez has reportedly said goodbye to his Arsenal team-mates before leaving their team hotel just before 11pm on Friday, and it appears he has moved a step closer to clinching his Manchester United move after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s tearful farewell earlier today.
According to The Sun UK, the details of the deals with both players going in opposite directions are yet to be ironed out, but the Mirror report that Sanchez received a call and before saying goodbye to team-mates and leaving their hotel.
Sanchez was expected to be named as the first reserve to Arsenal’s 18-man squad for their clash against Crystal Palace. But he may now have been part of the Gunners’ matchday preparations for the final time.
Sanchez is set to be Britain’s first £500,000-a-week footballer after agreeing a £118.3million contract to join United. But the deal has been held up over Arsenal’s transfer plans and whether Mkhitaryan was prepared to go to The Emirates.
United boss, Jose Mourinho acknowledged on Friday that the transfer was close to completion. And Manchester City chief, Pep Guardiola congratulated his rivals and his former Barcelona ace on their agreement.
The Arsenal rebel has been offered a stunning £505,000-a-week, four-year deal at Old Trafford.
Mourinho snatched the Arsenal attacker from City’s clutches when the league leaders felt the price of the package had gone too high. And while this season’s title race may be run Mourinho sees this as a sign of intent for the next as he begins to make United stronger.
Mourinho said: “The team is lacking nothing. It is not the point of lacking something or we desperately need something. It is just thinking about the improvement of the team in the future.
“If we have in our mind in the summer to improve the team in two or three positions, basically to improve the team in all the departments, if you have the chance to do something now it means that you don’t do it in the summer.“
Mourinho says the January transfer window is really for clubs who have not done their job properly the previous summer. But then Sanchez was just a dream, now it has become a realtiy.
He said: “I think that’s for me the point of the January transfer window, is to help the clubs that didn’t work well in the summer and they feel they have to do something in January to help what they didn’t do well before.
“It’s because of that we don’t like to do things in January because it shows that we didn’t give our best, we didn’t try our best and we don’t like to do it.
“But if you have the chance to get some special players, some player in special circumstances, some player that you would do in the summer and you have the chance to do it now, that’s a special situation and you try to do it.
“In the summer, we would probably have three transfers to do. If we do one now, in the summer it is three minus one.”
After losing Sanchez and Theo Walcott, the Gunners are set to bring in £53m Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.