Football

Mkhitaryan set for medical at Arsenal in next 48 hours

Armenian midfielder's move will allow Sanchez to leave for Man United

Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to undergo a medical at Premier League rivals Arsenal in the next 48 hours, allowing Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez to seal his move in the other direction, British media reported on Saturday (Jan 20).

Sanchez missed Arsenal’s 4-1 league win over Crystal Palace with manager Arsene Wenger saying that his long-anticipated departure was dependent on the Armenian agreeing to join the Gunners.

“Sanchez (transfer) will happen only if Mkhitaryan comes. That’s why it takes longer," the Frenchman said, adding: “I expect it to happen. In the next 48 hours, it will be decided.”

Mkhitaryan joined United from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 but appears to have fallen out of favour with manager Jose Mourinho, having not completed a full 90 minutes in the league so far this season.

With the transfers sorted out, Wenger believes Arsenal are ready to go on a sustained winning streak.

Arsenal ended a five-match winless run by thrashing Crystal Palace 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Four goals in the first 22 minutes tore Palace to shreds as Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette got on the scoresheet.

The Gunners’ dynamic display was a well-timed rebuttal to the critics who claimed the imminent sale of Sanchez to Manchester United would ruin their already troubled season.

The Arsenal manager hopes the Sanchez and Mkhitaryan deals, which follow the sale of Theo Walcott to Everton, will allow his players to focus on their performances rather than being distracted by the transfer sagas.

“What is very difficult is for the first time in January we were losing one of our big players,” Wenger said. “This period creates a strange feeling in the dressing room. That is why this transfer period in the middle of the season is difficult.”

Wenger revealed Sanchez was absent from the Arsenal squad on Saturday as he headed to Manchester to seal a deal which has been in the making since United out-bid Manchester City for the former Barcelona star.

“I didn’t take him because there is a question of him moving to Manchester United and you cannot drive up north and as well play football,” Wenger said. “I expect it to happen maybe, but I cannot announce it because in the next 48 hours it will be decided one way or the other.”

AUBA BID

Wenger refused to comment on Borussia Dortmund’s claim that Arsenal have made a bid for their striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The 28-year-old was left out of the squad that drew against Hertha Berlin on Friday, which has stoked transfer speculation.

Aubameyang was the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer last season as he finished the campaign with 31 goals and has hit 13 in 15 games so far this year.

“We are nowhere near anything with Dortmund. They are responsible for their own statements. If we sign somebody we will announce it,” Wenger said. – Reuters, AFP

HENRIKH MKHITARYANalexis sanchezarsenalManchester United