£22,000 per minute.
That is what Alexis Sanchez’s loan deal has cost Inter so far this season.
The Chilean winger is on an enormous £400,000 per week at Old Trafford and Inter are set to pay over £4million over the year long move.
Considering the 31-year-old has only played 186 minutes this season, it has cost the Italian club a staggering £22,000 per minute.
United have had to cover the rest of Sanchez’s wages, meaning they will have spent over £5m on a player that hasn’t played for them this season.
Sanchez’s demise highlights the dangers of giving a huge contract to an ageing player whose best days are coming to an end.
In January 2018, Manchester United thought they had signed a man who would turn them into champions once more, in the same way Robin van Persie scored the goals to drive them to the title following a transfer for Arsenal.
His 18 months in the North-West saw him score just 3 league goals.
The loan deal to Inter Milan was supposed to revitalise his career. Following injury and poor form, Guiseppe Marotta, the chief executive of Inter, does not want to pay the £17.5million it would cost to snap him up on a permanent deal.
It is a warning for Arsenal who are in contract discussion with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Reports at the weekend are that Aubameyang is holding out for a £300,000 a week, a figure that Arsenal are reluctant to match – and seeing the Sanchez situation you can understand why.
Tying up £15.6m a year in a single player a a huge investment that can effect the clubs ability to invest in other players.
Aubameyang turns 31-years-old in the summer and Arsenal will be worried that offering him what he wants could lead to another Mesut Ozil situation.
Ozil has clearly gone downhill since his big contract, and it is a noose around the clubs neck. Arsenal would not want the same to happen to Aubameyang.
There is differences, however, between Aubameyang and Sanchez.
Aubameyang is with Arsenal. The coaches will be watching him day in, day out. They will know his current physical attributes. If he is still putting out the same numbers as he was since he 1st joined. They will know if he is beginning to decline.
It was with similar knowledge that led to Arsenal letting Sanchez go to Manchester United. They would have known he was on the decline. That his explosiveness had gone. His top speed had was not as quick. That his acceleration a little slower.
Armed with all the knowledge on a player, built up over time, Arsenal are able to make a judgement on the player. The difference for Manchester United and Inter Milan is they would not have 2 years of data on the player.
Aubameyang is showing no signs of slowing down – showing that age is nothing but a number. Players do not suddenly his 30 and begin to decline.
Some keep going for years after entering their 3rd decade. Others, like Michael Owen and Fernando Torres, are shot in their late 20s.
Offering Aubameyang a new deal has to still be Arsenal’s preferred option. But they have to protect themselves in the deal.
If Aubameyang wants £300,000 a week, and Arsenal think he is worth that much, the club should try and agree a 2 + 1 deal.
Sanchez’s demise is a warning to clubs offering big contracts to senior players who are reaching the end of their peak.