Manchester United are facing a £12 million bill for Alexis Sanchez's wages this season, sources have told ESPN FC, even if the forward completes a loan move to Inter Milan before next week's European transfer deadline.
United and Inter remain in talks over a season-long loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has scored five goals in 45 appearances since completing a free transfer move from Arsenal to Old Trafford in January 2018.
But with Sanchez unwilling to take a pay cut in order to end his United nightmare, sources have told ESPN FC that Inter are only prepared to pay up to €5m (£4.5m) of the player's €20m (£18m) salary at the Premier League club.
The Italian outfit have been told that Sanchez has already taken a 20 per cent drop in wages this season as part of his contract due to United not participating in the Champions League this term.
And, although the Chile forward is keen to kick-start his career by returning to Italy -- Sanchez spent three years in Serie A side Udinese prior to signing for Barcelona in 2011 -- United and Inter remain some distance apart on an agreement over sharing the burden of the player's wages.
With Inter only prepared to pay £85,000-a-week towards Sanchez's £350,000-a-week basic salary at Old Trafford, United could be forced to fork out in excess of £1m a month simply to get a deal done with Inter.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Inter, who paid a club record €80m to sign United striker Romelu Lukaku earlier this month, remain hopeful of reaching an agreement for Sanchez.
United have already paid Sanchez's wages for July and August, leaving approximately £15m of his annual salary to be covered.
And with the player having been omitted from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad for the games against Chelsea and Wolves this season, Inter are confident of a breakthrough being made before the deadline.