Neville: Sanchez could follow in footsteps of Cantona, Van Persie at United

Former Manchester United utility Phil Neville believes Alexis Sanchez would be an "absolutely unbelievable signing" for Jose Mourinho.

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez is expected to join his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.   -  Getty Images

Alexis Sanchez could help Manchester United win trophies if he decides to snub Manchester City for Jose Mourinho's men as former Red Devil Phil Neville tipped the Arsenal star to make a similar impact to Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.

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Sanchez has been expected to join former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at runaway Premier League leader City in January after his protracted move to the Etihad Stadium fell through during the previous transfer window.

However, United has reportedly joined the race to sign the soon-to-be free agent from rival Arsenal as Mourinho looks to hijack Guardiola's pursuit of the Chile forward – with out-of-favour playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan mentioned as a possible makeweight in a swap deal.

United beat City to the capture of Van Persie in 2012 and the Dutch star delivered the Premier League title that season, while Cantona hoisted the trophy aloft on four occasions during his time at the Theatre of Dreams and Neville feels Sanchez could follow in the footsteps of the duo.

"I was blown away really, because everyone thought he was going to the blue half of Manchester," Neville told Sky Sports.

"It's pretty obvious he's not going to stay at Arsenal. I think if United were going to buy him, £25million would be an absolute snip.

"United missed out on buying [Inter's] Ivan Perisic in the summer, and with that missed out on a winger. I think Sanchez provides the quality, the goals and the world-class ability he has got.

"I think it would be an absolutely unbelievable signing. If you look back at Man Utd's big signings over the decades, Cantona came out of the hat, Van Persie was a surprise, and they both helped United win titles. I think this could have a similar impact. He's got the character to play at Old Trafford.

"It would be a coup, particularly for United fans, to have a player like Sanchez potentially come to them over City. It would be a strong statement."

United is second in the Premier League, 15 points behind neighbour and unbeaten pacesetter City after 22 matches.

Mourinho's United play host to lowly Stoke City at Old Trafford on Monday, while Guardiola's side face Liverpool on Merseyside.

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