That is why City’s contention that they won’t budge from the £20m offer and, if need be, simply pick him up for free in the summer, makes sense. It also makes sense for Sanchez: a chunk of the £20m City would save could go into his pocket in wages.
Nobody bats an eyelid. Nobody sees a conflict. Nobody even raises the possibility that a journalist or professional presenter or even a retired pro-turned-pundit might be a more appropriate choice.
For those who may have missed the previous episodes, here’s a quick recap: Sanchez, arguably Arsenal’s best player, refuses various contract extensions to his deal which runs until June 30. Arsenal don’t want to lose him as a free agent, so they entertain an offer from Manchester City in late August. Pep Guardiola offers a lot of money – well north of £70 million reportedly – but Arsenal say they will only do business if they get a player (Raheem Sterling) in exchange. City turn them down, knowing time is on their side.
The fee isn’t outrageous – even for a 29-year-old on an expiring contract – but the wage commitments would be huge with Sanchez holding all the cards. And you would imagine other areas, like midfield and defence, would be greater priorities for Mourinho.
If that is going to be their benchmark, they have to accept the fact they won’t reach it most years. And, in fact, the gap between ninth and relegation is just one or two bad, or unlucky, games. That’s the reality for clubs in their position.
Enter Manchester United. Jose Mourinho calls Sanchez a “phenomenal player” and stories circulate that his club would be happy to meet the £35m asking price. Mere Mourinho mischief? A lifeline to his old enemy Wenger in order to derail his more recent enemy Guardiola?