Manchester United fans are praising Ed Woodward for the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal, but do the Arsenal board deserve some credit for their part in the double deal?
On Saturday, David Ornstein announced that all the paperwork is complete for the moves.
Contrary to previous reports, Ornstein also said the deal is a straight swap, without any cash added on.
Manchester United fans got excited over the news. Most of the time, they tell you money doesn’t matter, but their supporters always make it important when their club completes a good deal. The United followers took to Twitter to rant about Ed Woodward’s fantastic negotiating skills.
“Sanchez for Mkhitaryan in a straight swap,” said one fan (via Express). “NO MONEY INVOLVED. Ed Woodward is an absolute genius. United have won this deal.”
I understand the sentiment, but I think you have to ignore a lot of mitigating factors to think Arsenal are getting ripped off.
For a start, the situation the Gunners were in was terrible.
Sanchez was going to leave for free in six months, or go to league leaders Manchester City for £20m. There’s no way you replace the Chilean for £20m, let alone for nothing at all.
As much as United fans want to ignore it, the Mkhitaryan side of the transfer is important too. The Armenian had two-and-a-half years on his contract, five times more than Sanchez.
Unless you think the Arsenal forward is five times more valuable than the Manchester United man, that’s a good financial deal for the Gunners as well.
If Mkhitaryan produces anything like his 2015/16 Borussia Dortmund form, the deal looks even better. That season he managed 55 goal contributions in 52 games.
Manchester United got the man they wanted, for a player they could afford to lose. That’s good business.
Arsenal got a player who could very easily improve the team, for someone they were losing anyway. That’s also good business.
The club may have dug themselves into a hole, but I think we have to give them credit for clawing their way out again.