Arsenal have drawn widespread criticism for creating a situation where numerous senior players could leave the club for free in 12 months’ time.
The club stands to lose Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez once their respective contracts expire next July.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the same position earlier on in the summer transfer window, yet the Gunners somehow fetched £40 million from his sale to Liverpool.
But that unique deal has done little to mitigate the uncertainty around the Emirates dressing room considering the potential exodus looming at the end of the season.
Few Arsenal faithful would argue the most important of their five players set to become free agents is Sanchez – a man whom most would be devastated to see go.
While some have accepted the Chilean may not be a Gunner for much longer, the prospect of him joining a Premier League rival is simply unthinkable.
Arsenal turned down the chance to collect £60 million from Manchester City this summer in what seemed an admirably defiant stance over Sanchez – but it could eventually be a decision they look back on with regret.
The collapsed move means, as of January 1, Premier League clubs can approach the striker with a view to snapping him up on pre-contract.
Logically, City must be near the front of the queue for his signature. However, Pep Guardiola is now almost certain to face stiff competition from a foe he knows all too well.
The Sun claims Jose Mourinho is eager to convince Sanchez to instead join the red half of Manchester and has even been quoted a bargain signing-on fee.
The report says United will be asked to pay £25 million should they settle on a deal for him to join the Old Trafford club for the 2018-19 campaign.
It’s a minuscule amount of money considering the quality of the player in question, which leads to speculation about whether City – or other clubs for that matter – will return to the table with improved offers.
DO CITY NEED SANCHEZ?
But one query could sway the advantage in the Red Devils’ favour: does Guardiola really need Sanchez?
His existing strikeforce of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus is comfortably the most potent in the Premier League with a collective nine-goal haul from five games.
Likewise, United have Romelu Lukaku to thank for five of their 16 top-flight goals, making his first-choice virtually untouchable if his early form continues.
While it’s difficult to determine which Manchester club Sanchez would be more useful to as a striker or advanced midfielder, both clubs are understandably eager to get him on board.
If there’s one certainty regarding his future, the 28-year-old will have a wealth of options to choose from come May.
Should Sanchez join one of the Manchester clubs or stay at Arsenal? Let us know what you think in the comments section!