Manchester City have called time on their long-protracted efforts to sign Alexis Sanchez, according to reports on Monday evening.
The Chilean star is expected to leave the Emirates in the coming days and had long been tipped to link up again with his former Barcelona mentor Pep Guardiola.
However, after it emerged that United had become serious contenders to sign him over the weekend, Sky Sports News have now suggested that a deal to Old Trafford is edging ever closer after Guardiola, and City, ended their long-standing interest.
Chilean outlet El Mercurio claims Sanchez will earn £350,000 a week at Old Trafford with a £35million move to United nearing completion.
The deal will make him the Premier League’s highest-paid player and will also see him take an iconic shirt number at Old Trafford.
Our Monday Verdict discussed exactly why Sanchez is exactly what Jose Mourinho needs, although Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville – speaking before the Monday Night Football clash between United and Stoke – insisted he still expected City to wake up and trump United’s offer.
“The reports are suggesting he’s going to sign for United in the next few hours or 24 hours,” he said on Sky Sports.
“As a United fan I still can’t believe it. There was no inkling whatsoever that Alexis Sanchez was going to end up at Manchester United.
“I still think that Manchester City will wake up and offer the extra money and they will get him.
“That’s my mind, just speaking emotionally because he’s been City’s player, everyone knows he’s been City’s player for six, seven months.
“I don’t quite get this ‘City are walking away by not paying’.
“We’re talking about here City offering £290,000-a-week and United offering £350,000.
“City over a ten-year period, whether it be for (Dimitar) Berbatov, whether it would be for (Samir) Nasri, whether it’s for (Carlos) Tevez have fought Manchester United tooth and nail for many players and have always stood up to the task on money.
“Why all of a sudden are they saying no to a player, to be fair, is relatively cheap in the overall package terms?”
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However, Sky Sports’ claims that City have ended their interest seems to point towards the player making a shock move to Old Trafford, with many expecting a deal to be finalised before the end of the week.
BBC Sport, in explaining City’s decision to end their interest, claim Guardiola, the club’s owner Khaldoon al Mubarak and other senior officials all made the agreement together.
It is understood the wages being demanded by Sanchez would have put him ahead of all City’s star men, something the club decided they were not willing to do.