Sanchez completes United swap move

Alexis Sanchez has completed his transfer to Manchester United with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction to Arsenal.

The 29-year-old Chile international forward, Sanchez, who almost joined Manchester City in the summer before the deal broke down late in the transfer window, has penned a four-and-a-half year deal at Old Trafford.

Sanchez, who scored 80 goals in 165 appearances during his time at the Emirates Stadium, will wear the famous number seven shirt at United.

On completion of the deal, the former Barcelona man told the United official website: "I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world. I have spent three-and-a-half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans.

"The chance to play in this historic stadium and to work with Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down.

"I am very proud to be the first Chilean player ever to play for United's first team and I hope I can show our fans all around the world why the club wanted to bring me here."

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Armenia international, Mkhitaryan, is delighted to join Arsenal on a three-and-a-half-year deal after scoring 13 goals in 63 appearances for United since joining from Borussia Dortmund for £26.3million in July 2016.

"I'm very happy that we could finish this deal and I'm very happy to be here," he said. "It's a dream come true because I've always dreamed of playing for Arsenal.

"Now that I'm here, I’ll do my best for this club to create history."

United are 6/4 to win the Premier League without Manchester City, while Arsenal are priced at 11/2 to secure a top-four finish.

Wenger open to starting Sanchez

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he would have no issue starting Alexis Sanchez against Crystal Palace on Saturday despite the player edging towards a January exit.

Having seen Manchester City pull out of the race to sign the 29-year-old, Manchester United are in pole position to land the Chilean international.

Talks are thought to be ongoing with Sanchez and United but for the moment the player is still on the books at Arsenal and manager Wenger is adamant he would be happy to start the South American against Palace this weekend.

He told reporters: "As long as it's not over the line you have to accept it may not happen. These kind of things are not guaranteed.

"I have no problem with Sanchez's attitude. He was in training yesterday fully committed. He is 29 years old and the next contract will of course be very important to him."

Speaking about the possibility of United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the opposite direction as part of the deal, Wenger added: "I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He appreciated the quality of our games. The wages would not be a problem."

The Gunners are 1/2 to win, 7/2 to draw and 19/4 to lose to the Eagles at the Emirates Stadium.

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Conte rules out Sanchez raid

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has made it clear that he is not interested in signing Arsenal's Chile international Alexis Sanchez.

Manchester City said on Monday that they had decided not to prolong their interest in the 29-year-old, who now seems set to join Manchester United.

When asked if there was any truth in Chelsea buying Sanchez, Conte replied: "I don't know, I don't think so. I don't want to give my opinion about the transfer market.

"I try to work with my players, I am happy to work with my players. We are working very well and I am trying to build something important for this club. This is my first task.

"If someone asks my opinion if we improve (the squad) or not I can give my opinion. But the most important thing is to work and to continue to try to improve every single player. I stop."

Meanwhile, Sevilla have been linked with Michy Batshuayi, who has started just three Premier League games for the Blues since moving to Stamford Bridge from Marseille for more than £33million in 2016.

Batshuayi is set to start against Norwich City in the FA Cup on Wednesday and is 8/11 to score at any time in the third-round replay.

Chelsea are 11/2 to win the FA Cup this season and 28/1 to lift the Champions League.

Wenger admits Sanchez leaving

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has accepted that Alexis Sanchez will be leaving the club this month with both Manchester clubs still interested.

The Chilean almost joined Manchester City in the summer with a deal falling through on deadline day.

However, with United now having joined the chase he looks to have played his last game for Arsenal, having been left out of the Gunners side who lost at Bournemouth.

Before that game Wenger addressed the fact that Sanchez was missing from the team. When asked if a move was imminent he replied: "Yes. Don't read too much in it because even I don't know which way it will go.

"He's being vague at the moment. The situation is not completely decided one way or the other, so I left him at home."

To make matters worse for Wenger, his side lost 2-1 at Bournemouth; the Cherries first ever win over Arsenal.

Hector Bellerin gave Arsenal the lead early in the second half but two goals in four minutes, from Callum Wilson and Jordan Ibe turned the game around and, though the visitors poured forward in search of an equaliser, they were lacking the invention often provided by Sanchez.

The result means that Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table, five points off a top four place. It was also their second defeat in the space of a week after they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest last weekend.

They are still in the EFL Cup having drawn with Chelsea in the semi-finals first leg and they are 4/1 to win the trophy at Wembley next month.

Arsenal are back in Premier League action next weekend, at home to Crystal Palace and, without a win in five matches, they are 4/9 to put that right against Roy Hodgson's improving side. The Eagles are 5/1 with the draw priced at 15/4.

Eddie Howe's side now have a four-point gap on the bottom three following this vital win and they are up to 13th in the table.

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‘Phenomenal’ Sanchez interests United

Jose Mourinho admits there are 'some players in the football world' that a club like Manchester United must try and sign if available, with Alexis Sanchez amongst them.

The Chilean forward is out of contract at Arsenal this summer and is being widely linked with a move away from the Gunners during this month's transfer window.

Manchester City is believed to be the preferred destination for Sanchez, though the Premier League leaders are said to be unwilling to pay more than £20m for a player that will be a free agent in the summer. Arsenal are holding out for closer to £35m for their player.

Manchester United are looking on with interest from the sidelines and, while not keen to talk about Arsene Wenger's player, Mourinho admits the Red Devils have a duty to be on top of the situation if Sanchez is to become available.

"I don't think it's correct to say things about Alexis Sanchez," the Portuguese said.

"At the general level, what I can say is that myself and the Manchester United board, we don't believe a lot in the January market. We don't believe in signing players just to sign a player, just to do something. We don't believe in that.

"What we believe really is that there are some players in the football world, if you have a chance to sign them, it doesn't matter if it is in January, March or July, you have to try.

"But in relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don't say a word. The only word I can say is the same word that everybody says, he's a phenomenal player.

"Apart from that, (he's an) Arsenal player, I feel I shouldn't say much more than this."

Man United are 2/9 to beat Stoke on Monday night at Old Trafford. The Potters are 14/1 while the draw is 6/1.

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Wenger: Sanchez hard to replace

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accepts that is will be difficult to replace forward Alexis Sanchez if he exits the Emirates Stadium this month.

The Chile international is out of contract in the summer and is reported to be a target for Manchester City, with Manchester United also rumoured to have entered the bidding for the former Barcelona forward.

And Wenger admits that the balance of his side will change if Sanchez does opt to move on, telling reporters: "Is Alexis replaceable in the way that we find exactly the same players? Certainly not. But there's always a way to find a different balance.

"Alexis is an exceptional football player, he's a world-class player and, if that happens (he leaves), we have to find a different balance in the team."

Of the current situation surrounding Sanchez, who has scored 60 goals in 122 Premier League appearances for the Gunners since his arrival in the summer of 2014, Wenger added: "Normally he would stay until the end of the season, but we'll see.

"Nothing is really concrete at the moment and nothing is decided one way or another. Of course I want a quick resolution."

Meanwhile, Wenger also praised Sanchez for his continuing commitment, which the Frenchman says has not wavered despite recent speculation about his future.

He concluded: "When he's on the football pitch he wants to win, he's committed. I've never questioned his professional attitude when he's on the football pitch."

The Gunners are in action at Bournemouth on Sunday, with the visitors having claimed a win and a draw on their two previous Premier League visits to Dean Court.

Arsenal are priced at 3/4 to win on Sunday and are 8/1 to secure a 2-1 victory, with Danny Welbeck available at 11/10 to score at any time.

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De Bruyne sees role for Sanchez

Kevin De Bruyne says that Alexis Sanchez would add to the Manchester City team if he makes the move from Arsenal.

The Chile international's future is the subject of constant speculation as it was in the summer.

He then appeared to be leaving the Gunners and heading for the Etihad Stadium but a move failed to materialise.

Now, in the January window, there is fresh belief that a move could happen, especially as his Arsenal contract is due to expire in the summer.

Arsene Wenger said earlier in the week that there have been no offers for Sanchez but, if he does move to City, De Bruyne says he would be a good addition to the squad.

He said: "[He is] a very good player. Obviously we will see what happens in this transfer period.

"If a good player comes to us that is better, if he doesn't come we do it with the team we have. We are on a good period already – the whole season. Everybody is doing a good job.

"If he comes he will add something to the team."

Meanwhile De Bruyne says he is still in negotiations with City over a new contract though his current deal still has three and a half years left to run.

City, after progressing though to the fourth round of the FA Cup and getting a first leg lead over Bristol City in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, are back in Premier League action this weekend.

With a 15-point lead at the top of the table they bid to extend their unbeaten record this season with a tough game away to Liverpool on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's team are 2/1 for the win with City 23/20 and the draw priced at 11/4.

City are 8/15 to win the EFL Cup this season.

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No offers for Arsenal trio

Arsene Wenger says that Arsenal have not received offers for any of their stars but promised quality replacements if they left.

With the January transfer window now open speculation has centred on the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere, all of whom see their contracts expire in the summer.

Sanchez almost left the Emirates Stadium in the summer with Manchester City interested and Wenger is aware that, with their contracts running down, there may be interest in all three throughout this month.

At a press conference ahead of a home game against Chelsea on Wednesday, Wenger said the club would adapt whatever happens, but stressed that there had been no offers for the players so far.

He said of the prospect of seeing the trio leave: "First of all we have not lost them yet, and secondly we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality.

"This club has lost many big players and has always responded well. Massive players have left this club and the club will always be in a strong position on that front. But you want to keep your best players, yes."

The Arsenal boss added that, whatever happened with his big names, he is on the look-out for players to improve his squad.

"We are open in any position for the exceptional player that can give us a plus," he said.

"It depends a bit on the injuries as well, on the other hand it depends who will manage to extend the contracts of the players who are at the end of their contracts in June."

Arsenal are 15/8 to win on Wednesday night with Chelsea 31/20 and the draw priced at 5/2.

Sanchez is 11/8 to score at any time in the game.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in FA Cup action at the weekend, both facing Championship opposition with the Gunners at Nottingham Forest and Chelsea travelling to Norwich City.

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Pep expects Sanchez to stay

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has predicted that Alexis Sanchez will still be an Arsenal player at the end of the January transfer window.

Guardiola came close to signing the Chile international in the summer and has not hidden his admiration of the former Barcelona star.

He is expected to make a renewed bid to sign Sanchez this summer but reports suggested he could bring his plans forward after Gabriel Jesus picked up a knee injury during Sunday's goalless draw at Crystal Palace.

When asked about Sanchez, Guardiola replied: "I don't know (what's going to happen) but he's a player of Arsenal and I think he is going to stay there.

"There is some time to ask me that but I have a lot of things to think about, because in two days we have another game.

"In the internal meetings we are going to decide what is best. But my feeling now is that he's an Arsenal player and he will be. at the end of January."

Kevin De Bruyne also picked up an injury at Selhurst Park and is a major doubt for Tuesday's match against Watford which City are 2/11 to win.

Meanwhile, Guardiola insists his team will not remain unbeaten this season even though they have won 19 and drawn two of their opening 21 top-flight games.

He added: "I swear you, that is not going to happen. I'm not thinking about being invincible."

City can be backed at 11/1 to beat Watford 2-1 while they are 7/1 to win the match from behind.

Late penalty denies Arsenal

Arsene Wenger's record-breaking day did not go to plan, a late West Brom penalty denying Arsenal all three points at the Hawthorns.

The Gunners boss took charge of his 811th game for the club, breaking Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League record, but he was denied a happy ending.

His side took the lead late on, a deflected Alexis Sanchez free-kick beating Ben Foster in the West Brom.

However, six minutes later, with time fast running out the referee adjudged that Calum Chambers handled the ball in the area and James Rodriguez fired the resulting penalty home.

It was a controversial call and Wenger was unhappy with the decision as well as the Christmas schedule.

He told the BBC: "He (the referee) didn't see it. There was a player in front of him. That's why I questioned his decision, he didn't see it.

"I felt we have a very tight schedule to prepare for this game. The Premier League has to look at the schedule. You have to look to see if you have the same amount of recovery days as the opposition. Come back to me when that happens."

The point moves Arsenal above their London rivals Tottenham into fifth while they are three points off the top four.

At the other end of the table Alan Pardew is still looking for his first win in charge of Albion since taking over from Tony Pulis.

However, they have what could prove to be a very valuable point and it enables them to climb off the bottom of the Premier League table, albeit on goal difference and they are now three points off safety.

Both teams have a Premier League game in midweek, the Baggies travelling to West Ham on Tuesday with Arsenal in action a day later, at home to Chelsea.

Arsenal are 8/5 to win with Antonio Conte's side 8/5 and the draw is priced at 12/5.

The Gunners are 2/1 to finish the season in the top four.

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