Manchester City give Manchester United free run at Alexis Sanchez

Olivier Giroud

The United boss was keen not to be drawn on specifics regarding a player he labelled as "phenomenal" but conceded there were times when his reluctance to engage in the January market must be abandoned.

But having previously said he still wanted Sanchez to stay as well, the Arsenal boss seems to have given up all hope of keeping the Chile global.

Arsenal's near-complete pursuit of Bordeaux winger Malcom has given Manchester United a major boost in completing a shock deal for Alexis Sanchez.

However, recent reports suggested that Jose Mourinho's side were looking to hijack a potential deal for the Chilean forward with a £25m ($34m) bid as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger seems resigned to losing his key man.

When asked if Sanchez is a player United want this month, the Portuguese said: I don't think it is ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs.

The Premier League leaders have always been linked with signing the Chilean forward, and had a reported £60m offer for him accepted by Arsenal on deadline day last summer.

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So whilst Manchester City remain favourites, Manchester United can not be discounted from pulling off a transfer coup not seen since... they stole Romelu Lukaku from under the noses of Chelsea last summer.

It was revealed on Friday that City are willing to pull out of a deal to sign the 29-year-old this month after refusing to meet Arsenal's £35 million valuation.

José Mourinho does not believe there is any point in Manchester United throwing money around this month in an effort to reinvigorate the title race - because Manchester City are too far ahead.

Ritchie said on MUTV: "A player of his stature and nature, you have got to be interested". And because they want to replace me they have to spend 50 or 60 million. Fred is playing in Ukraine, and Pep Guardiola wants to bring him in during the January transfer as he builds for the second half of the season.

"But Henrikh is a very good player, he played in our last game and, assuming he trains normally at the weekend, he will be selected to play on Monday".

"I have a good relationship with Theo and I don't want him to be frustrated or lose an opportunity to go to the World Cup. He'll have the choice of a lot of clubs and, if United could get him, it would be a massive signing".

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