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Manchester United leading the race to sign Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez could be close to a transfer to Manchester United, contrary to earlier speculation that he would move to Manchester City

Manchester United appeared to be closing in on Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez on Monday, leading the chase to sign the Chile international ahead of long-time suitors Manchester City.

Sanchez, 29, looks to have played his last game for Arsenal, with manager Arsene Wenger saying Sunday his move could be confirmed “in the next 48 hours” there is uncertainty as to his destination.

Pep Guardiola’s City, whose move for the player collapsed at the end of the summer transfer window, are understood to be reluctant to pay a quoted cost in the region of £35 million ($48 million, 39 million euros) for a player who is out of contract at the end of the season.

United boss Jose Mourinho has done nothing to rule out United’s interest in Sanchez, calling him a “phenomenal player” and admitting that if there is a “fantastic opportunity” to sign a top player in the January transfer window, the club would be interested.

Former England captain Alan Shearer said the signing of Sanchez would be a huge coup for United because he has been a target for Guardiola for some time.

“I don’t know what Sanchez is thinking but my guess — and it is a guess — is that he will choose City,” Shearer said on the BBC website, adding that the player knows Guardiola from his time at Barcelona and would be joining the best team in the country.

 But he admitted the forward would walk into United’s team while he would not necessarily be an automatic choice in City’s star-studded line-upCity boast an impressive array of attacking resources with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero vying for places in Guardiola’s team.

Sanchez would certainly feature for City as they chase silverware on four fronts but he would struggle to pin down a permanent starting berth.

United also have an impressive roster of forwards but Sanchez could expect more playing time alongside Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford, with doubts growing over the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has recently returned from a long-term injury.

Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2014 and in a stellar 2016/17 campaign scored 30 goals and made 17 assists, though his form has since dipped.

Arsenal are not in the Champions League this season and look likely to miss out again as they are already eight points off the top four.

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