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Alexis, Aubameyang nearing moves, possibly within next 24 hours

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Transfer window shenanigans.

Borussia Dortmund v SV Zulte Waregem - Friendly Match Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

We’re just about halfway through January, and the big prize of the transfer window is set to be unveiled somewhere in the city of the Manchester. The big twist in the tale however is that he just might be wearing the red of United rather than the blue of City.

José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola both played coy on this story over the weekend, but Alexis was spared the humiliation of Arsenal’s loss at Bournemouth and Wenger made it quite clear that a move is close.

“It will be decided in the next 48 hours. It was a bit difficult for Alexis [to play at Bournemouth] because he was on standby, a little bit. That’s why I decided not to do it [select him].

“He did not refuse to play. He would have played but it’s a difficult period for him. He’s always been committed until now but he could have moved yesterday, today or not.

“I don’t master the rhythm of it [the transfer] but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all. That’s why I didn’t take a decision [to select him] – I didn’t want to travel with him and, suddenly, he goes somewhere.”

-Arsene Wenger; source: Guardian

Manchester City had long been considered favorites for the 29-year-old’s signature, but at the final hurdle, have apparently baulked at Arsenal’s asking price (starting at £20m but possibly as high as £35m) as well as Alexis’s supposed wage demands, which could be as high as £400k/week (or roughly twice as much as Chelsea are paying the squad’s highest paid players, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas). As Conte alluded to over the weekend, Chelsea were simply priced out of any potential deal in this situation.

No such problems at Manchester United, recently urged by José Mourinho spend even more because £300m was “not enough”, who have apparently jumped at the opportunity to gazump their in-city rivals. Their costs could be attenuated by sending Henrikh Mkhitaryan the other way, with the former Borussia Dortmund-star never quite managing to work his way into Mourinho’s good graces.

Mkhitaryan’s former BVB teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another name mentioned in connection with this story, as Arsenal do have plans to sign a replacement for Sánchez.

“If Sánchez goes, we need to replace him. We have, of course, to respond to it.”

-Arsene Wenger; source: Guardian

This would seem rather sensational, especially as the name most often mooted as Alexis’s replacement is £45m-rated Bordeaux winger Malcolm. That deal is supposedly also “close”.

So what’s happening with Aubameyang, who apparently expects join a new club in the next 24 hours?

Auba has long been linked to a move to the Chinese Super League, but their free-spending days were over almost as soon as they started, when the league’s regulations were changed last year.

Could the 28-year-old be headed to Chelsea? That would certainly be unexpected as well, given the general lack of any solid rumors in recent times. Twitter was alive with a Chelsea-BVB rumor over the weekend, for what it’s worth (probably very little, if anything). Plus, I personally was hoping that would mean something to do with Christian Pulisic...