Despite suggestions that Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United is a new development, Steve McClaren believes the Chilean may have decided his own future months ago.

The former England manager told Sky Sports: “Sanchez will end up where he wants to go. He will have had conversations behind the scenes even probably with Manchester City in the summer and for many months.

“He’ll know which manager he wants to play for and which manager will give him the best chance of developing as a player and winning trophies. He had got a good choice.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 10: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal warms up before the Carabao Cup Semi-Final First Leg match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on January 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“If he wants Manchester City, I think because they won’t pay he may have to wait until the summer. If he gets on and wants to work with Jose Mourinho then he will go to Manchester United straight away. Both managers have track records of improving players.”

It shouldn’t really matter which club Sanchez decides to go to. The Gunners aren’t close to either team in the league, and the player is cup-tied for the League Cup final. He’ll be 30 by the end of the year, so I can’t see the club he joins getting any more than a couple of full seasons out of him.

From an Arsenal point of view, I think the worst case scenario is Sanchez sticking around until he goes for free in the summer. If Arsene Wenger doesn’t trust the Chilean to face Crystal Palace, the forward’s head is clearly elsewhere.

Another five months of half-hearted performances followed by a free-transfer to a rival sounds like a nightmare. To me, it seems pretty clear that the Copa America winner’s time with the Gunners is up.

The best thing for the club is to bring in his replacement, and spend the rest of the season bedding him in. We’ll see what the three parties involved decide.