Arsenal’s final Sanchez insult, deal ‘within hours’
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed a deal to sell Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United is "likely to happen" as the Gunners took unprecedented steps in the final stages of the negotiations.
Man United fans have already jumped in to buy Sanchez No.7 jerseys ahead of the move after Wenger's hint at the imminent done deal.
"I've worked on transfers for 30 years, so it is likely to happen. But at any moment, at any minute, things can break down," Wenger said.
"It's the deadline now. I left him out at Bournemouth because I was scared that the transfer would happen before we played Bournemouth.
"It was already quite advanced so I didn't want to be in the position where I tried with him and he has to go back, so he doesn't play.
"It's now in the next 24 to 48 hours that it will happen or not."
Reports out of Chile say Sanchez could line up for United as early as this weekend, in Sunday's (AEDT) match against Burnley.
"The Chilean will travel to Manchester in the next few hours for the medical examination," tweeted Spanish journalist Jose Alvarez Haya.
Italian publication Di Marzio reports Sanchez's arrival is just a matter of hours away, while Chilean journalist Maks Cardenas has reported Sanchez's family and friends have already arrived in Manchester while the player, his brother and agent waits in London for fine details to be confirmed.
It comes as The Times reports Sanchez was forced to train with the youth team in what could be his final day with Arsenal, as a player-plus-cash deal still looks to be on the table.
A transfer fee of between £8-12 million plus Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the mooted cost, in addition to Sanchez's £14m a year wages after tax (£27m a year before tax), a £20m signing-on fee, and an agents' fee of more than £10m according to The Telegraph.
The London Evening Standard also hinted that Arsenal teammates have been left unimpressed by Sanchez's behaviour in the final days of transfer uncertainly, which has led to further dressing room problems.
The Mirror states that Sanchez was "frozen out" of training, as the deadline for Sanchez to be registered in time for Burnley looming.
Friday 12pm GMT (11pm AEDT) is when the deal must be completed in order for Manchester United to unveil their new star in a Premier League match.
United's desperation stems from their desire to find a marquee attacker to fill the No.7 jersey, reported the Manchester Evening News.
While Mkhitaryan's move to Arsenal has proven to delay Sanchez's arrival, Ed Woodward is desperate to add the famous shirt number back onto their teamsheet.
"For Woodward, filling it has been one of his most pressing missions since taking control of United's transfer strategy five years ago," wrote James Robson.
"For a man so attuned to commercial opportunities, the executive vice chairman recognises the alchemy in pairing the right name with the number.
"He's thrown more money at it than any other department of United's squad - the £89m signing of Paul Pogba notwithstanding."
Despite this strategy, Arsenal legend Martin Keown has slammed Sanchez, labelling him the biggest mercenary in football in his Daily Mail column.
"Sanchez has got to be the biggest mercenary in football," he wrote.
"Manchester City have wanted to sign Sanchez since the summer and, if no deal is done in January, they will be waiting for him at the end of the season.
"City would be the natural place for Sanchez to go to develop his football. He has worked with Pep Guardiola before.
"But for Sanchez, this is clearly not about going to the best team, working with Guardiola and taking his game to another level.
"He has probably thought that he will not get a better offer if he waits until the summer, so he might as well take the best deal on offer now. It has been all about the money."
Finally, Arsene Wenger has also given a progress update on Mkhitaryan's arrival.
Wenger said: "It's a possibility, it's because I like the player … "it would be an exchange of players, and I think one would replace the other."
Italian publication Calciomercato has reported his agent Mino Raiola is in London to thrash out personal terms, with Wenger publically stating wages are not a problem for the Gunners.