The popular adage "money makes the world go around" would be apt in the case of the ongoing Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan transfer saga after Manchester United became favourites to sign the Chilean.
The Red Devils are leading the chase for the Arsenal forward and are favourites to sign him before the end of the January transfer window, but the Gunners are holding out for a player-plus-cash deal involving Mkhitaryan.
United are ready to let the midfielder, who has fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho, leave the club, but he is yet to agree terms with Arsenal. The Armenian's agent Mino Raiola made it clear on Tuesday (16 January) that the Sanchez deal hinges on his client agreeing to move in the opposite direction, which according to Mkhitaryan's agent, is not close to happening.
"This is a great deal for Arsenal. They need better, younger players and they have to invest," Raiola was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "So it's up to Arsenal to put a deal in place and right now a deal is a long way off."
According to the Mirror, Mkhitaryan and Arsenal are negotiating terms of the deal that will see him make the switch to the Emirates Stadium, but his wage demands are said to be the stumbling block. The Armenia international is demanding an improvement on his current £150,000-a-week that he earns at United, while he also wants a pay-out from his current employers as he still has two-and-a- half years remaining on his contract.
Meanwhile, his agent is also looking for a cut of the deal believed to be around £5m, which could also prove to be a thorn in the negotiations. Moreover, the report claims that it could be a straight swap rather than a player-plus-cash deal owing to Sanchez having just six months on his contract and Mkhitaryan being contracted until the summer of 2020.
However, according to the Daily Mail, both clubs are said to be confident of completing a deal before the end of the transfer window after Mkhitaryan accepted that he has no future at Old Trafford after again being left out of the squad for their win over Stoke City on Monday (15 January).
The Armenian will make the final decision with regards to his move, but the report claims that an improved contract offer from Arsenal will convince him to move to the Emirates Stadium.