Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United is “likely to happen” in the next 24 hours, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming the other way.
Wenger also confirmed Mkhitaryan’s wages will not be a problem in the potential swap deal and the Armenian is seen as a direct replacement for Sanchez, who is out of contract at Arsenal in the summer.
“I’ve worked on transfers for 30 years so it is likely to happen but any moment things can break down,” Wenger said.
“That’s how the transfer market is so as long as it’s not over the line you have to accept that it can as well not happen. These kinds of things are never guaranteed.”
When asked whether Mkhitaryan was involved in the deal, Wenger said: “My understanding is yes. The wages would not be a problem.
“Of course [I like him]. If it’s a possibility it’s because I like the player.
“We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund so he’s certainly appreciated the quality of our games and the way we play football so that’s why certainly he loves the club.
“This would be an exchange of players and I think one would replace the other. Are we still on the transfer market after that? Yes.”
United are prepared to pay Alexis Sanchez more than £350,000 per week and Wenger revealed Arsenal “did the maximum the club could afford” to keep the Chilean.
“I wouldn’t like to come out on the numbers because that’s Man Utd’s problem,” the Frenchman said. “I respect Man Utd because they generate the money they pay to the players with their own resources so you have to respect that.
“After that it’s down to them to know how much they want to give to the player. Overall Man Utd are a club very well managed financially and of course as well on the pitch so that’s why I don’t have any problems with the money they pay.
“He’s 29 years old so the next contract will be, of course, very important for him.
“We did the maximum we could afford to do and one day maybe I will come out on that but today is not the moment.”
Manchester City made a £60m Deadline Day move for Sanchez last summer, however, the deal collapsed when Arsenal were unable to sign Thomas Lemar as a replacement from Monaco.
“The problem was exactly similar to what it is today,” Wenger said. “I only accepted to let him go if somebody comes in for him and it was not possible in the summer.
“I would have done it but because it happened very late on the last day of the transfer market, that’s why it didn’t happen. If it happens now it’s because somebody else comes in for him.”
Wenger also revealed further why Sanchez did not travel with Arsenal for their 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Sunday.
“When I left him out at Bournemouth it’s because I was scared that we sit at Bournemouth on Saturday night and the transfer happened,” he said.
“It was already quite advanced so I didn’t want to be in a position where I travel with him and he has to go back and doesn’t play.”