Trouble is brewing at Old Trafford, as the dissonance between Jose Mourinho's demands and Ed Woodward's ambitions have been laid bare. In a series of articles published across the English press today, it is revealed that United did not accede to their manager's centre-back targets as they believed all were either too old or too expensive to be a worthwhile investment.
Among the best pieces on the subject is Daniel Taylor's in The Guardian, which explains that Harry Maguire was deemed too expensive at £75 million as was Toby Alderweireld at two-thirds of that price, mainly because the Belgian defender is ticking into his thirties. Jerome Boateng, meanwhile, was only countenanced as a loan deal. On Alderweireld, Spurs floated the possibility of deal involving Anthony Martial going the other way, but that was scotched by Woodward...in spite of the fact Mourinho wants to be rid of Martial.
There is lots more detail in the piece besides, but one nugget buried within it caught our attention. It is in relation to Alexis Sanchez, pilfered from beneath City's noses in January, in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Given United didn't have to pay a premium transfer fee as Sanchez was months from the end of his contract at Arsenal, it had been rumoured that his wages were fairly obscene. Per Taylor's report, that is true...and then some.
Apparently, Sanchez makes a basic wage of £391,000 a week, and gets a £75,000 bonus for every game he plays. And on top of all that, he is given an extra £1.1 million every year as a signing-on fee. It means Sanchez is earning about twice as much as stars that have outperformed him lately, such as Harry Kane and Mo Salah.
And given United's willingness to pay this kind of money, it's not difficult to imagine the recent posturing by Mino Raiola and Paul Pogba relating to a move to Barcelona may as much be about topping up wages as actually forcing through a move.
The full report can be read here.