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Sánchez-Mkhitaryan swap “likely to happen,” says Arsène Wenger

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Swap deals almost never happen, but the Arsenal manager thinks this one is on.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The extremely banterous transfer of Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal to Manchester United appears to be edging ever closer to completion. Regular recent reports have suggested that United misfit and spiritual Arsenal player Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be moving in the opposite direction, and Arsène Wenger has confirmed that the swap is on the verge of completion.

“I’ve worked on transfers for 30 years, so it is likely to happen. But at any moment, at any minute, things can break down. That’s how the transfer market is. As long as it’s not over the line, you have to accept that it can, as well, not happen. It’s now in the next 24 to 48 hours that it will happen or not.”

When asked about Arsenal’s chances of signing Mkhitaryan, Wenger was similarly forthcoming.

“It’s my understanding, yes. If it’s a possibility, it’s because I like the player. We played many times against him when he was at Dortmund. He certainly appreciated the quality of our game and the way we play football.”

It’s rare to see a manager be this candid about such a high profile transfer, especially one that involves a player swap - something that is usually the domain of giddy internet transfer muppets, rather than a real life possibility. So to see Wenger not only confirm that Sánchez is close to United, but also that Arsenal is interested in taking Mkhitaryan in exchange, is a change from the usual tack. Poor Arsène is probably just bored to death of the whole thing.

Some reports hinted that Mkhitaryan’s wage demands had become a stumbling block in negotiations, but the Arsenal manager put that talk to bed as well.

“The wages would not be a problem. Look, this would be an exchange of players and I think one would replace the other.”

Put your MKHITARYAN 22 tops in the bin, and get your ALEXIS 7 pre-orders in, boys and girls. This one’s a goer.