Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness admits that he’s ‘mystified’ by Alexis Sanchez’s impending move to Manchester United, and insists there must have been ‘tapping up’ along the line.
At the end of last week, we were all laughing at the notion that Alexis would sign for United after his long-standing interest in moving to Manchester City and desire to work under Pep Guardiola again.
Well, here we are on Monday, and it looks likely that the Chilean’s move to the red side of Manchester is indeed about to go ahead. And, like Souness, we’re a bit mystified.
The Liverpool legend reckons that for United to swoop in and sign the 29-year-old after City led the race for some long, there has to have been some ‘tapping up’, or at the very least communication we didn’t know about.
The Scotsman even claims that ‘tapping up’ is still very much part of the game when it comes to big players, saying: “I’ll be amazed if it is to do with money, because there will have been lines of communication – the agent will have spoken to people at City.”
“The numbers will be on the table – ‘this is what he wants’ and ‘this is what he needs for it to happen’. The agent will demand what he wants, so that’s there. I imagine everyone will be clear about what sort of deal is on the table.
“So to get to this stage, and without getting anyone in trouble, there’s not a transfer that’s ever taken place or will take place unless there is an element of tapping involved. Someone meets someone when they shouldn’t do in someone’s house and a conversation takes place.
“For it to get this situation and someone can come along and hijack it, I’m mystified.”
Given the speed in which this transfer is going ahead, it does suggest an element of foul play. As Souness says, everything would have already been on the table, and such a quick change of heart from Alexis and/or his agent does feel odd.
Still, I do have to disagree that it’s not about money. In fact, this could be proof that money does indeed speak louder than footballing reasons. £300k-per-week talks to the player, while £35m+ for a wantaway forward in the final six months of his contract speaks to Arsenal.
Alexis was left out of Arsene Wenger’s squad to face Bournemouth on Sunday ahead of the move, and I predict he could be on his way out officially this week.