ARSENE WENGER revealed that Alexis Sanchez travelled north today to complete his £35million move to Manchester United.
Sanchez is expected to undergo a medical before a swap move which sees Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading to Arsenal.
United’s medical staff were with the team at Turf Moor in the afternoon but are due to meet up with the 29-year-old ahead of agreeing terms on a lucrative four-and-a-half-year contract worth around £450,000 a week.
Arsene Wenger confirmed the forward was en route when asked why Sanchez was not involved in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Wenger said after the game: “I didn’t take him because there is the question of him moving to Manchester United. And you cannot drive up north and as well play football!
“That’s difficult so, that’s why I decided to leave him out. I expect it to happen, maybe but I cannot announce it. In the next 48 hours, it will be decided one way or the other.”
Wenger was clear though that the move will only happen so long as Mkhitaryan completes his switch too.
He added: “Sanchez will only happen if Mkhitaryan comes here. That will be decided in the next 48 hours. It is a possibility.”
While Jose Mourinho said after his sides victory over Burnley: “Expect soon or never.
“So close, so close, so close, if it doesn’t happen it is not going to happen. I know my people doing absolutely everything they can. I think they will be successful.”
Sanchez bid his Gunner teammates farewell last night after training having been informed of a breakthrough in the deal.
Similarly Mkhitaryan said his tearful goodbyes to his Man United friends as the players set off in opposite directions on the M6 to hash out the finer details of the swap.
The Armenian’s camp pumped the breaks on the deal to broker the best possible outcome for the midfielder who has fallen out of favour with Mourinho.
United will pay a £20million transfer fee to Arsenal and £15m to the Chilean’s agent Fernando Felicevich.
Meanwhile, Sanchez is looking at a £350,000-a-week wage plus an extra £100,000 a week for image rights over the course of four and a half years.
He will also receive £7.5million a year for four years as a signing-on fee.
Wenger refused to comment on an Arsenal’s reported £45million bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “I can confirm that there has been a first request from Arsenal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and we are not commenting on the sums that have been called from England.”
Wenger cuffed Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc for bradnding him ‘disrepectful for taking about Aubamayeng, when in fact the Gunners boss had said very little about the player.
Wenger said: “I don’t know what I said. I said nothing happens and I cannot comment on it. I am quite surprised … it looks to me to be a tactical reaction rather than anything else because I didn’t say anything.”