Manchester United would be making an “unbelievable” signing comparable to their swoop for Eric Cantona if they landed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, according to former Red Devil Phil Neville.
Reports in Italy and England suggest United are ready to hijack any Manchester City move for Sanchez.
The 29-year-old former Barcelona forward 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 the Chile international from under City’s noses.
Mourinho, who said he was unlikely to buy anyone in January, recently bemoaned his club’s inability to invest up to “£700million” 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 boss Mourinho. The reports further claim that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been offered as a makeweight in any deal with Arsenal.
Neville, who made almost 400 appearances for United, 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, (Robin) 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, £25million would be an absolute snip.”
Cantona was taken to United from Leeds in 1992 and played a key role in the success of the team under Sir Alex Ferguson before retiring in 1997, while Van Persie joined from Arsenal in 2012 and won a league title in his first season at the club.
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 the same broadcaster, Serie A Inter Milan are also considering a loan move for Mkhitaryan.
Press Association Sport contacted both United and Arsenal with the Manchester club saying they were not aware of any bid for Sanchez while the Gunners declined to comment.
City 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 Stadium.