MANCHESTER United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that talks are ongoing over a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, with the Special One insisting the deal is “not done” just yet.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Burnley, Mourinho stated that the Chilean would miss the match while again hinting that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be heading to the Emirates in the deal.
“Clearly everyone knows that we are there and especially when the Arsenal manager speaks so clearly like he did, there is no point in trying to hide or deny,” Mourinho said.
“But [it is] not done, not done at all. In this moment Mkhitaryan our player, Sanchez is an Arsenal player. With a match tomorrow, I want to switch off and focus on what is the most important thing.”
Mourinho confirmed that neither Sanchez nor Mkhitaryan would play a part in United’s clash with the Clarets, with United’s deadline to register any new signings passing on Friday midday (GMT).
Yet while Mkhitaryan is fit to play, he has not been selected after bidding farewell to United teammates — the Daily Mail claiming he shed tears when seeing teammates and club staff for the final time as a Red Devil.
“It was very tearful,” said a Daily Mail source. “Henrikh has been a very popular figure here at United.
“We know he isn’t too happy with the way this deal has been forced upon him.
“He realises he has more chance of playing at Arsenal, but he would have preferred to leave on his own terms.”
Mourinho also moved to clarify thoughts that he himself was involved with the negotiations for the swap deal, stating that he will “be calmly waiting for the news.”
When quizzed on what is slowing the deal, the manager responded, “I don’t know. My involvement in the situation is just to say the reasons why I would like to have the player and no more than that. I’m out.”
United’s Sanchez deal is expected to include a £20m transfer fee, a £450,000 a week contract and a further £15m bonus for the Chilean’s agent Fernando Felicevich.
But just as Arsene Wenger looked prepared to give Sanchez one more game as an Arsenal player, with the Chilean having trained with the first team ahead of their match against Crystal Palace, The Mirror has reported Sanchez has left the team hotel.
“Alexis Sanchez said goodbye to his Arsenal team mates after a dramatic late development in his transfer saga,” they reported.
“Gunners boss Arsene Wenger named Sanchez as the 19th man in Arsenal’s squad … [but] Mirror Sport understands that Sanchez got a call and said goodbye to his team mates just before 11pm and left the team hotel.”
The Daily Mail also reported Sanchez’s late departure from the Arsenal team hotel, saying the star was “informed a breakthrough had been made” and “said goodbye to both players and staff ahead his move north.”
The forward trained as usual ahead of the Palace meeting, with onlookers suggesting he looked sharp.
But with United having already missed the deadline to field him at Turf Moor, the Chilean will have to wait until at least January 31, when the Red Devils take on Spurs at Wembley, to make his league debut for his new club.
Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, once the favourite to reunite with Sanchez, has congratulated United over their imminent deal and insisted he has no hard feelings towards the player.
City were in pole position to sign the Chilean for the majority of the summer before failing to equal Mourinho’s mammoth offer for the 29-year-old.
“What I know right now is Alexis is still an Arsenal player. I think he is going to go to United so congratulations to both of them,” Guardiola said.
“In the end, the players and managers decide where they want to play. Good luck.”
When asked whether he held any disdain towards the player, the manager responded: “My opinion of Alexis remains the same.”
“It was a pleasure to be with him at Barcelona and he is going to decide to move onto another club. I wish him all the best.”
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