Manchester United should "always" be trying to sign players like Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez according to Gary Neville, who thinks the Chile international's focus has not exclusively been on football in recent months.

Sanchez, 28, had hopes on leaving the Gunners during the summer transfer window and was reportedly close to completing a £60m deal to Manchester City on deadline day, but for one reason or another the move never materialised.

The former Barcelona star has less than a year left on his contract at Arsenal and is unlikely to sign a new deal. City are still believed to be interested, while recent reports suggest Manchester United are ready to battle their city rivals for Sanchez's signature.

Neville, who won countless honours during his illustrious playing career at Old Trafford, wants to see his former side challenge the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid for players like Sanchez, who he believes has been "distracted" by the circus that has surrounded him over the last few months.

"Manchester United, in my mind, should always be challenging for the best players in the world," he told Sky Sports, relayed by Football365.

"The argument is that always Barcelona and Real Madrid if they do want someone they will get them and that has played itself out over the last 10/15 years but United are now financially challenging. They are paying the sums they need to pay to attract the best players in the world.

"I've not seen the Alexis Sanchez news, so you have given me something I haven't heard before, but, from that point of view, United, from a general perspective, should always be challenging for the best players in the world and bringing them in.

"Sanchez has been distracted at Arsenal for the last six months.

"His career at Arsenal, I couldn't say a bad word about him until two or three months before the end of last season. I did feel he became distracted. Let's see how he performs this season at Arsenal. Ultimately he is still building up his fitness, he's still not in the team."

Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez is understandably in-demand. Getty