Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola

Grounded frustrated Alexis Sanchez in last night's 0-0 draw at Chelsea

United have hijacked Manchester City's transfer for Alexis Sanchez, and are prepared to make the Chilean the fourth-highest player in the world.

Both players have been linked with possible exits mid-season, and according to Simon Stone of BBC Sport, United are the favourites to secure Sanchez this month.

The 48-year-old, who has signed a two-and-half-year contract, has previously managed in the top flight with Norwich and Aston Villa and in the Championship with Blackburn and Wolves.

It was originally believed that United were offering a cash plus player deal for Sanchez, with Jose Mourinho content to offload Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January after the Armenia global fell out of favour.

When asked if Chelsea are actively trying to sign Sanchez, Conte said: "I don't know".

"This season he started very well but has come a little bit down", Mourinho added. Yet with the player now on the verge of quitting the London side, Pep Guardiola and City have informed the player's camp that they are no longer interested in a deal.

Manchester City have also reportedly pulled out of the bidding war for Sanchez, after United offered a deal said to be worth £350,000 (S$638,000) a week.

The agent, who counts Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku among his clients, says he proposed the "Sanchez to Old Trafford, Mkhitaryan to Arsenal" deal more than six weeks ago.

Man United are keen to offload Mkhitaryan in this window in order make room for Sanchez and thus keep a tight squad.

"He is our player so I can speak about him".

"It's best for him and us, while doubt is in air, to protect him". I don't know anything about it. He's prepared to let him leave on a free if he doesn't get a deal that satisfies him and find a replacement.

Sanchez has agreed terms with United - thought to be worth £300,000 a week - and "the transfer can happen quickly" if Mkhitarayan agrees to move in the opposite direction.

"He is our player so I can speak about him", said Mourinho.

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