Sanchez, Mkhitaryan swap shirts

January 23, 2018
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MANCHESTER, England (AP):

Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United yesterday in a rare swap deal among two of England's top teams that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal.

"I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world," said Sanchez, a former Barcelona player who had an opportunity to join United's neighbours and fierce Premier League rival, Manchester City.

"The chance to play in this historic stadium (Old Trafford) and to work with (United manager) Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down."

The transfers of the 29-year-old players were announced simultaneously, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying Mkhitaryan was a "very complete player".

"It's a dream come true," Mkhitaryan said: "Because I've always dreamed of playing for Arsenal."

No financial details were disclosed, but United said Mkhitaryan was joining as "part of the deal" to bring Sanchez to Old Trafford.

Signing Sanchez is being viewed as a real statement by United, like Eric Cantona joined in 1992 and Robin van Persie who also arrived from Arsenal in 2012. Beating City to the Chile forward will make his arrival all the more sweet for United fans and Mourinho.

"Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world," Mourinho said. "He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player, and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige."

City came close to signing Sanchez in August and looked to be the favourites to get him this month, only to end its interest in the forward following a rival bid from United. The Premier League leaders said Sanchez and his agent increased their financial demands and that it didn't want to destabilise the team by bringing in a player who would be its highest earner.

Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014 for about 30 million pounds, choosing a move to London amid interest from Liverpool.

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