With rumours of Alexis Sanchez possibly joining Manchester United, you’d think Arsene Wenger would never sell to Jose Mourinho.
Given Wenger and Mourinho’s history, it’s hard to see any business being done between them.
Such is their dislike for one another that Mourinho wouldn’t even let Arsenal have Demba Ba, then a back-up striker at Chelsea, on loan for a season.
And if he had things his way, Petr Cech would have never made the move to Arsenal, either.
We like to think that the feeling is mutual.
Given the choice, no Arsenal fan would sell a player to a side managed by Jose Mourinho, nevermind one of their best players.
Wenger, we hope, would feel exactly the same way.
Yet, surprisingly, he has done it before.
Jose Mourinho has only even signed one player from Arsenal in his career.
It was in the summer of 2006 that Ashley Cole was tapped-up by Chelsea and made the move from north London to west London.
At that time, Chelsea were the Champions, while Arsenal had just finished fourth at Tottenham’s expense on the final day of the season.
Wenger and Mourinho had been at each other’s throats for a good year.
It was in 2005 that Mourinho called Wenger a “voyeur” for his comments about Chelsea. Wenger responded by saying that the Portuguese had been “out of order”, and added: “When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
Crucial to Cole’s eventual sale was a souring of his relationship with the club. In this instance, Wenger had little choice but to let him go.
The blow was softened by William Gallas heading to Arsenal in part exchange.
Fast forward to 2018 and Arsenal find themselves in a surprisingly similar situation.
If reports are to be believed, Manchester United are offering Henrikh Mkhitaryan in exchange for Alexis.
Wenger’s relationship with Mourinho hasn’t improved one bit, but given the choice of selling to City or United, the chance to get a player he likes might sway him. Arsenal were close to signing Mkhitaryan until United blew their offer out of the water.
His preferred choice would be to keep Alexis until the end of the season. That much he has made clear whenever the Chilean’s contract situation has been brought up.
He has faith in his professionalism; more faith than many fans and pundits have.
Unlike Cole, Alexis has yet to make any public statements against the club.
While we can read into his desire to leave, he hasn’t burned his bridges.
So Wenger may feel that he has room to hold onto Alexis for as long as he can, and hope that a third option, such as a team from abroad, can appear and give him a way out.
Ultimately, the fact that Mourinho is United’s manager is a small factor in this saga.
Wenger’s aim is to what’s best for his team, and if circumstances are such that he has to sell to United, then that’s what he’ll do.
In addition, it is highly unlikely that Alexis would opt to join United ahead of City whom he has been pining for since the summer.