Gary Neville has revealed his bafflement at Manchester City’s stance on Alexis Sanchez, who is reportedly close to a move to Manchester United this month.
The Chilean forward was always likely to leave Arsenal in January with his contract expiring in the summer, but was expected, up until today, to join Man United’s cross-city title rivals either this month or in the summer.
Reports emerging on Monday evening now suggest that Man City have walked away from the deal completely after refusing to meet Arsenal’s asking price of £35m. United are willing to do so, as well as paying high agent fees and huge wages for Sanchez, and are frontrunners to complete a deal for the ex-Barcelona man in the coming days.
In a long and detailed rant on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Neville explained why he’s confused by the reports of City baulking at excessive fees in the transfer market and still expecting Sanchez to join them despite offering far less money.
“I find it very difficult to think Manchester City can offer less money to a football club, less money to an agent, less money to a player and all of a sudden a player’s going to take £3m less, the agent’s going to take £5m less, Arsenal are going to take £15m less because everyone wants to go and play for Pep Guardiola,” Neville began, “because City ultimately can sit there and say ‘we’re going to be champions, we’re going to pay £30m less to those three parties but we still think that player should come to us’.
“How can that be? This is Manchester United by the way, we’re not talking about going to play for Salford. We’re talking about one of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United.
“They’ve offered £30m more, it’s still an attractive proposition Manchester United.”
City were close to bringing Sanchez to the Etihad last summer, but the transfer eventually did not happen after weeks of a traditional summer saga.It seemed clear to everyone that he’d either sign for them in January or in the summer on a free transfer.
Neville pointed out that while City may claim in the media that United are paying huge fees for Sanchez, that a player of his ilk will cost far more in the summer window.
“I get City’s point around the morals of saying ‘we’ve done a deal’ but in the summer for Manchester City to go and sign another ‘Alexis Sanchez’ would cost them £130-140m,” Neville continued.
He also outlined his confusion over City’s transfer policy on Sanchez, given they have aggressively pursued the same targets as United in the past and paid huge amounts of money to beat their rivals.
“I’m struggling to understand why Manchester City, who in the past have been aggressive when competing with Manchester United for players for [Carlos] Tevez, for [Samir] Nasri, for [Dimitar] Berbatov, all of a sudden sit there and say ‘I’m not going to go any further for this player’.
“I’m not understanding the economics for City to think they can only offer £70m as a package for a player that should be worth £120-130m in the market. I don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense.
“They’ve always been a club that has matched Manchester United toe-for-toe for money, I don’t understand why they think they don’t have to now.”
Neville has been very public and very clear in his criticism of high-profile journalists and ex-footballers who have claimed that the choice for Sanchez is between playing for City and having the money of United.
The Reds are England’s most successful ever football club and currently the second best team in the country, behind City. They’ve won three trophies in the last two years despite being in ‘transition’ and on the way down, while City, who are on the way up under Pep Guardiola, are yet to lift a single piece of silverware since the Spaniard’s arrival.
The concept that United are only attractive due to the money is quite frankly preposterous given the identity, history and reputation of the club as well as the quality of players and coaches currently in the side.