Alexis Sanchez transfer updates: Manchester United closing in on a deal

One of the world's top players, Alexis Sanchez, could be on his way out of Arsenal, and it looks like his new home will be Manchester United. The Chilean international has been linked with a move to several English clubs within the last week. Although Manchester City appeared to be the early favorites, Sanchez has reportedly agreed to a contract with United on Wednesday. The transfer, however, could break down if another player from United doesn't choose to go the other way. 

Here's what to know about the potential move:

Why could he leave Arsenal?

Sanchez's contract is up this summer, meaning he could be free to sign with another club and Arsenal would receive nothing for him. The fact that Arsene Wenger hasn't been able to get him to sign a contract extension almost certainly forces his hand to sell him now in order to salvage at least something in return.

Who is interested, and what's the latest?

At the moment, everything is nearly in place for a deal to happen with Manchester United. According to The TelegraphAlexis has agreed to a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Red Devils. The deal includes a player swapping shirts from United to Arsenal. That player is reportedly Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Both sides are waiting to hear back from him in order to complete the move.

Jose Mourinho's squad wasn't always the front-runners for Sanchez. In fact, Pep Guardiola appeared to have had the inside track leading up to this week. On Tuesday, however, according to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester City backed out of the bidding process for Sanchez because the club viewed the deal as too expensive after agreeing in principle to a $75 million transfer. From there, Manchester United jumped into the lead, however, Arsenal wanting a player in return could block the deal.

Mkhitaryan's agent, Mino Raiola, said the deal won't happen unless his client agrees to join Arsenal and that the player hasn't decided yet, according to ESPN.

Chelsea and Liverpool were briefly linked but nothing materialized. 

Now, we wait on Mkhitaryan's decision. 

Who is the favorite?

It went from City being the favorite to Manchester United becoming the late favorite after Wednesday's developments. There's still plenty of time for other clubs to get a deal done or for talks to fall apart, but it seems now that he is destined for United. 

When does a deal have to be completed by?

By Wednesday, Jan. 31 when the winter transfer window closes. 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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