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Premier League update: Man United, Arsenal

Arsenal, Manchester United swap superstars Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan

On Wednesday, Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2-1 to reach the Carabao Cup Final without Alexis Sanchez. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said his men were playing with "more clarity" following the transfer of Alexis Sanchez as the Gunners came from behind to beat Chelsea and set up a Carabao Cup final with Manchester City who defeated Bristol City in their League Cup semi-final second leg tie. After a goalless first leg, Eden Hazard put Chelsea ahead before an own goal from Antonio Rudiger leveled it, and Granit Xhaka's winner put Arsenal through to the FA Cup Final at Wembley. The Gunners victory came only two days after Sanchez's drawn-out transfer to Man United was completed, with the Arsenal getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return.

At the end of England Premier League MatchWeek 24, Man City is in first place with 65 points, Man United is in second with 53 points, Chelsea is in third with 50 points, and Liverpool is in fourth with 47 points out of a possible 72. Along with some thrilling matches over the weekend, the transfer rumors were flying about Alexis Sanchez and whether or not he would sign with Manchester United. On Tuesday Man United announced that they had agreed to terms with Sanchez who is now a Manchester United player and the Chilean is ready to go for the Reds with a No. 7 shirt. United have agreed to make 29-year-old Sanchez their highest paid player of all-time. Sanchez's hiring is a major coup due to the fact that Sanchez was likely to join cross-town rivals Manchester City up until a fortnight ago. The Chile international arrived in Manchester on Sunday to complete his medical and was spotted at Old Trafford late on Sunday night wearing United's iconic number 7 shirt. Sanchez is clearly desperate to get going at the Theatre of Dreams. The former Barcelona man trained with his new side on Wednesday and is in line to make his Red Devils debut against Yeovil Town on Friday in the FA Cup match. Sanchez's Premier League debut for Manchester United may be against North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on January 31st at Wembley Stadium. Sanchez scored 60 goals in 122 Premier League appearances for Arsenal following his move from Barcelona in 2014 and was named the club's Player of the Season in two of his three campaigns at the Emirates. He won two FA Cups and the Community Shield with Arsenal but was disillusioned after the Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League last season, a tournament he is eligible to play in for Manchester United. The Chilean, whose contract with the Gunners would have expired in the summer, has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Red Devils.

Alexis is believed to be earning £14m a year after tax at Old Trafford, just under £300k-a-week, and also receives a £20m signing-on fee, with his agent banking £10m. Mkhitaryan's move in the opposite direction values the Armenian at £30m, roughly the amount United paid to Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and ends an unspectacular 18 months at the club. The Chilean will take home £14m a year after tax, making him the highest paid player in the Premier League, though his pay could cause problems at United. Agent Mino Raiola also represents Paul Pogba, and reportedly the ambitious agent will demand United give the Frenchman - their club-record signing - wage parity with Sanchez. Reportedly Paul Pogba will demand that his £200,000-a-week wages are doubled to match Alexis Sanchez's pay packet at United. The French ace's agent Raiola believes the going rate for a player of his quality has now increased substantially due to a shift in the market and the £89million man wants to equal Sanchez's £400,000-a-week. Pogba has 3 years left on his current deal, with United having the option to add an extra year for the former Juve footballer. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has supported Alexis Sanchez's assertion that he "always gave 100%" to the club. Sanchez wrote a post on social media after leaving Emirates Stadium to join Manchester United. Twenty-nine-year-old Chile forward Sanchez also said that former players spoke "with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and caused damage".

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright said last month that it looked as though Sanchez had "clocked off" and was "not putting in a shift" after almost joining Manchester City last August. Sanchez has scored seven Premier League goals in 19 matches at a rate of 0.37 per game this season, compared to last term's contribution of 24 goals in 38 matches at 0.63 per game. Meanwhile, Armenia captain Mkhitaryan has made only 10 top-flight starts this season and reportedly there was a breakdown in trust between him and United manager Jose Mourinho. "Sanchez is a great guy and he has always been committed," said Wenger. "I believe we lose a world-class player and gain a world-class player. Overall, I think Mkhitaryan has the qualities to integrate into our game. He has a good team attitude as well. I'm confident it will work."

Arsenal completed the signing of Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a long-term contract. The Armenian moves to the Emirates in exchange for Alexis Sanchez, who has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan, 29, held the key to Sanchez's move to the Theatre of Dreams and he spent 48 hours mulling over a move to the Emirates. The Armenian wanted the Gunners to match the wages he received at Old Trafford and his demands have been met. Arsenal supporters are convinced Mkhitaryan has revealed Aubameyang's transfer is done. Speaking at his unveiling, Mkhitaryan expressed his happiness at joining Arsenal and said he's looking forward to competing for silverware with the club. "I'm very happy that we could finish this deal and I'm very happy to be here. It's a dream come true because I've always dreamed of playing for Arsenal," said Mkhitaryan. "Now that I'm here, I'll do my best for this club to create history,"

Mkhitaryan joined United in 2016 from German Bundesliga club Dortmund for a fee of around £26million, however, the playmaker struggled for form and consistency after his arrival. After a tough debut season at Old Trafford, Mkhitaryan started this season as a first-team regular but he fell out with Mourinho after a drop in form and was included in just one squad over nine matches during November and December. Wenger thinks Mkhitaryan will thrive at the Emirates and says he's looking forward to working with the Armenia international. "Henrikh is a complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he's very committed as well. I must say he's a player who has all the attributes," said Wenger. "We're replacing a very good player with a very good player, a world-class player with a world-class player. He's a complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he's very committed as well. I must say he's a player who has all the attributes."

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell remarked about the departure of Alexis Sanchez and the future of the Arsenal team. "Arsenal doesn't need Sanchez, especially if Mkhitaryan comes," said Campbell. Paul Merson thinks Mkhitaryan would be a good fit for Arsenal. "Here's the conundrum. Will they tie down Ozil?" said Merson. "If Ozil doesn't sign then Mkhitaryan is really that playmaker. But Ozil and Mkhitaryan in the same team - can it work? I think there is going to have to be a serious plan of how to shore up that central midfield area because Arsenal can be gung-ho. They can leave the midfield wide open so there has to be some groundwork - a defensive player in there to be able to combat and compliment those two players."

Neil Custis believes Alexis Sanchez will give Manchester United the spark they are missing, and says he could be the catalyst for the club. Arsenal paid a club-record fee to sign striker Alexander Lacazette last summer. Now the Gunners are keen to bring in Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang this month. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 100 goals in his last 118 games for Borussia Dortmund. "You're going to have to play them all because if they come to the club they are going to have to play," Campbell added. "You can fit them in but you have to organize the back four and the midfield defensively. You need world-class players. You need a world-class center-half and a world-class defensive midfielder in order to complement those world-class players."

Former Celtic striker Andy Walker says he is bemused by Wenger's decision to focus on bringing in attacking players during this month's transfer window. "We always talk about Arsenal being so impressive middle-to-front, the options that they have the goals that they score. It's very often a thing of beauty," said Walker. "But defensively they need a strong center-back, maybe a strong defensive midfield player. That seems to me to be more of a priority than another attacking option."

Arsenal are not in action again until Tuesday, January 30 when they visit the Premier League's bottom club Swansea. Next Manchester United travel to play Yeovil Town at Huish Park in the FA Cup semi-final second leg on Friday, January 26. Buy Arsenal tickets and Manchester United tickets for the England Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup now securely online from 1st4FootballTickets.com!

January 26 2018 FA Cup Yeovil Town v Manchester United Tickets Huish Park. Yeovil, United Kingdom

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