Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez will only join Manchester United if his client agrees to move the other way.
Jose Mourinho has entered the driving seat to sign Sanchez after forcing Manchester City to abandon their interest in the Chile international with an improved bid of around £35m.
The Portuguese confirmed after the 3-0 win over Stoke City on Monday that Mkhitaryan, who wasn’t included in the match-day squad, could be part of a swap deal.
And Raiola, speaking to the Times, made it clear that the 28-year-old was an integral factor in the pushing the deal over the line.
“Man Utd is not going to sign Sánchez unless Mkhi agrees to join Arsenal,” he said. “Mkhi is going to do what is best for him. He has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, so it’s his decision”
“Sánchez is part of the Mkhi deal, not the other way around.”
This is a revealing change of tack in a saga that, up until now, cast Mkhitaryan as an unfortunate byproduct of a bigger deal, forced to finish sixth for two seasons in a row by joining Arsenal.
But it now seems as if this entire move hinges on the Armenian and where he wants to end up. Borussia Dortmund – possibly his ideal destination – have dropped their interest, leaving Arsenal as the obvious choice. The ball now lies in his court.
Supporters will just hope that Mkhitaryan, whose confidence at Old Trafford is in tatters after falling miles down the pecking order, won’t stop this move from going through by deciding against a move to the Emirates.