Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Alexis Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Man United in swap for Mkhitaryan

Alexis Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Man United in swap for Mkhitaryan

The transfer saga sees the wantaway Chilean - who had just six months remaining on his contract at the Emirates - move in the opposite direction and join Jose Mourinho's side on a four and a half year deal.

Last week, former Arsenal centre-half Martin Keown branded Sanchez "the biggest mercenary in football" after the 29-year-old made a decision to move to Manchester United over Manchester City.

Alexis Sanchez is the "finished article" Manchester United needed to buy to put them back among the elite, according to Gerry Francis.

While Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has moved the other way, is a thoughtful, sometimes inspired player, Sanchez is a firecracker.

Armenia global winger Mkhitaryan, also 29, will head to the Emirates after he fell out of favour with United manager Jose Mourinho during 18 months at Old Trafford.

But he has a lot more than piano skills to offer United, having scored 39 times in 88 LaLiga games for Barcelona and 60 goals in 122 Premier League appearances.

Pressed on Mkhitaryan's qualities, Wenger replied: "I would say quality of runs, quality of creativity".

"The Enviable Gold of Alexis" headlined La Tercera, trumpeting that the 29-year-old "has become the best paid Chilean player in history, with the highest salary in the Premier League and the fourth highest in the world".

Wenger went on to suggest he could ask Mkhitaryan, who is cup-tied for Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg against Chelsea, to play in an unfamiliar role moving forward.

Gunners fans were hopeful of seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrive during January as another attacking replacement, yet the Mirror are speculating that his current club Borussia Dortmund now want Olivier Giround in an exchange along with £60 million.

"Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world and he will complete our very young and talented group of attacking players", Mourinho said.

On Instagram, Sanchez did not reference anyone directly as he defended his record at Arsenal, writing: "There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage".

The beauty of Sanchez is his versatility - he can play on the left, right and down the middle - and we imagine he'll be employed in and around Romelu Lukaku.

He went on to say that he moved to Old Trafford because Mourinho is a coach who likes to win.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Sanchez's move: 'January has been hard for us, destabilising.

"I'm very excited to get a player in who will be committed and focused".

Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown labelled Sanchez as the "biggest mercenary in football", accusing the Chile worldwide over moving purely for financial gains.

"Every time a super-power spends enormous money on a player that drip-feeds down so every player you phone about has gone miraculously up in value", added Dyche.

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