Manchester United are reportedly ready to hijack any Manchester City move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
Former Barcelona forward Sanchez, 29, is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium this summer and has been linked with a January switch to City.
However, Sky Sport Italia claims Jose Mourinho’s United are plotting to snatch Chile international Sanchez from under City’s noses.
United boss Mourinho, who said he was unlikely to buy anyone in January, recently bemoaned his club’s inability to invest up to “£700m” in new players, claiming Premier League leaders City have the advantage of unlimited spending power.
Beating Pep Guardiola to Sanchez’s capture would therefore represent a major coup for the Old Trafford side and for Mourinho.
The reports further claim that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been offered as a makeweight in any deal with Arsenal.
Armenia international Mkhitaryan has struggled to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford this season and Sky Sport Italia reports that Arsenal are keen on the former Borussia Dortmund forward.
According to Sky Sport Italia, Serie A Inter Milan are also considering a loan move for Mkhitaryan.
Both United and Arsenal were contacted in relation to the United link with the Manchester club saying they were not aware of any bid for Sanchez while the Gunners declined to comment.
City, meanwhile, remain tight-lipped over a potential approach for Sanchez in the current transfer window but midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said on Wednesday he believes the player would “add something” to the squad at the Etihad.
Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville believes Sanchez would be an “unbelievable signing” for his old club and thinks the Chilean could have a similar impact to Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.
Neville also feels it would send out a big statement should the Red Devils pip arch-rivals City to Sanchez’s signature.
He told Sky Sports’ Super 6 Class of ’92 Facebook Live: “I think it would be an absolutely unbelievable signing.
“If you look back at Man Utd’s big signings over the decades, Cantona came out of the hat, Van Persie was a surprise, and they both helped United win titles. I think this could have a similar impact. He’s got the character to play at Old Trafford.
“It would be a coup, particularly for United fans, to have a player like Sanchez potentially come to them over City. It would be a strong statement.
“It’s pretty obvious he’s not going to stay at Arsenal. I think if United were going to buy him, £25m would be an absolute snip.”