Arsene Wenger Talks Alexis Sanchez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang Transfers

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal  during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final First Leg match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on January 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed a swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan is "likely to happen," but he would not be drawn on speculation regarding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

According to the Mirror's Hamish Mackay, Wenger was asked about the possibility of Sanchez imminently joining United. He replied: "Yes it is likely to happen. But any minute things can break down. That's how the transfer market is. These things are never guaranteed."

The Frenchman also discussed the prospect of Mkhitaryan arriving from Old Trafford as part of the deal: "Yes that is my understanding. I like the player."

Per Calciomercato.com's Matteo Pedrosi, he added:

Wenger played coy on talk of Aubameyang, though: "No, I have nothing to add to that. This kind of thing is better when it's secret. You announce it when it's over the line. Nothing else [other than Sanchez] is close."

It would seem Wenger is being up front about a deal for the Borussia Dortmund striker not yet being close, according to Kicker (h/t the Guardian's Marcus Christenson):

Football commentator Kevin Hatchard relayed the latest news from German outlet Bild:

The coach similarly had little to say on West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans, per the Mirror's John Cross:

Wenger was also asked about the rumours of Sanchez receiving £500,000 per week at Old Trafford. He responded: 

"I do not want to comment on the numbers they offer to Sanchez. I respect Man United because they raise the money they pay to players with their own resources. It's up to them how much they pay.

"United is a club very well managed financially so I don't have any problem with what they pay."

The Chile international has six months remaining on his contract, and Wenger said the club did all they could to convince him to sign a new deal: "We did the maximum we could afford to do, maybe one day I will come out with the numbers on that."

Wenger added the club cannot reach the same level in the transfer market as some of their rivals: "Financially, yes [we can't compete]. But that does not mean we cannot compete on the pitch. There is no mystery that United and [Manchester] City have more resources."

Some would argue the Gunners have struggled to match their rivals on the pitch for quite some time—while their ability to do so in one-off matches has helped them win three FA Cups in the past four seasons, they're without a league title since 2004 and have struggled to even put in a sustained challenge in the intervening years.

Receiving Mkhitaryan in exchange for Sanchez would be an impressive consolation if the deal goes through, though.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United in action during the FA Cup 3rd round match between Manchester United and derby County at Old Trafford on January 5, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Ima
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Both players are operating well below their best this season, but Sanchez is unlikely to rediscover that at Arsenal if he sees out the final months of his contract. A move could reignite Mkhitaryan, though, who bagged 23 goals and 32 assists in his final season at Dortmund.

What's more, many of his assists were for Aubameyang, who could also be a superb capture if they're able to sign him.

The forward has struck 125 goals in 164 matches in the last three-and-a-half seasons, so he could replace the firepower lost through Sanchez's exit.

If Arsenal can finish the transfer window with the pair in place, they'll have done much better than expected out of a difficult situation brought about by Sanchez's contract.  

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