Former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law has opened up on one deal involving Manchester United which left him ‘astounded’.
The two Premier League heavyweights have been involved in a number of famous transfers over the years. Robin Van Persie’s £24m switch to Old Trafford nine years ago left many Arsenal fans reeling.
He went on to bag 26 Premier League goals in his debut campaign as United won the title on 89 points.
Two years later, England forward Danny Welbeck left the Red Devils to join Arsenal in a deal worth £16m.
He would score 32 goals in five years at the Emirates before leaving on a free transfer.
Arguably the most intriguing deal between the two clubs was Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s swap deal back in 2018.
Sanchez was in the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract and the north London side were desperate not to lose him for free.
Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, wanted a new challenge after a tough spell in Manchester.
Speaking to The Athletic about the difficulty of organising swap deals, Law said: “I think, first of all, it comes down to valuation of players; every owner thinks their pony is the prettiest one at the fair.
“Sanchez was willing to go to United and Mkhitaryan wanted to go to Arsenal, and that’s why it worked.
“The third issue would have been the player negotiations and agents’ commissions. We were astounded when we heard what United paid the player and paid the agent.”
German outlet Der Spiegel (via Daily Mail) write that Sanchez earned just shy of £400,000 a week at United, making him one of the best paid Prem players of all time.
He also picked up a £6.7m signing on fee. Mkhitaryan was handed a £144,000-a-week contract by Arsenal and pocketed an £8.5 loyalty bonus.
Infamous super-agent Mino Raiola, who represents Erling Haaland and Paul Pogba currently, orchestrated the swap.
Law continued: “The Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal came down to the worst possible denominator, and that was Mino Raiola. And let me say this, I like Mino, I can work with Mino all day and all night. Mino is a top professional. But Mino understands leverage.
“And United, for whatever reason, left Mino as the last piece of the puzzle. You can imagine the leverage Mino had knowing that Sanchez was the critical element of the deal, and I think that’s how he leveraged the whole transaction.”
Sanchez took on the number seven shirt at Old Trafford but only managed five goals in 18 months. He was shipped out on loan to Inter Milan in August 2019 and joined the Italian giants on a free the following year.
Mkhitaryan scored nine goals and registered 13 assists in 59 games for Arsenal. He was loaned to Roma in September 2019 and signed for them permanently in 2020.
Arsenal player set to leave this month
Arsenal shot-stopper Alex Runarsson is set to leave the Emirates due to the impending arrival of Aaron Ramsdale.
The Gunners have reduced his price down to £26m from £40m and are expected to complete the move soon.
Runarsson has failed to impress Mikel Arteta in six appearances for the club.