Manchester United have an unexpected rival in their pursuit of Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and must put forward a more persuasive offer if they are to pull off what would be a sensational piece of business.
According to Turin based newspaper Tuttosport, Louis van Gaal, the soon-to-be Manchester United manager, is very keen on the Chile international and wants the Old Trafford moneymen to stump up the necessary cash to secure a transfer ahead of Juventus. However, it appears that money is not the only thing affecting the deal and the Red Devils may need to get a bit more creative in their persuasion tactics.
The report claims Sanchez's partner Laia Grassi, a Spanish designer of Italian descent, is not too keen on a move to Manchester and would prefer him to take the offer on the table at Juventus. Barcelona are unlikely to be too pleased about that as Tuttosport also claim that the Manchester United are offering much closer to their asking price than the Serie A champions.
Van Gaal will take over once his duties as manager of the Netherlands at the World Cup are over, but he must be flexible enough to intervene in this deal if needs be, as missing out on Sanchez when there was a tangible chance to sign him would be close to unforgivable. Camp Nou officials are seemingly determined to instigate an overhaul of the squad with new manager Luis Enrique - Cesc Fabregas has already been sold to Chelsea - but being willing to let the Chilean go is baffling.
Sanchez had a very productive season last term and did so despite not always being first choice under the now departed Tata Martino. The 25-year-old's pace, eye for goal and versatility are just the thing needed at Old Trafford and it looks as though the Catalan club do not feel he is worth hanging onto.
Sometimes it can be easy to forget in the midst of talking about these mega-money deals that professional footballers have regular concerns like pleasing partners and family, so the issues are not always about money. However, Manchester United's seventh place finish in the Premier League last term mean they cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to land a player of the quality of Sanchez when they are not playing in the Champions League.
Doubts have been raised about Ed Woodward's effectiveness in the transfer market and now is the time for Old Trafford's executive vice-chairman to start to dispel those rumours. Sanchez would be a fantastic signing and all needs to be done to put together an offer he, and his other half, cannot refuse.