Thursday 18 January 2018

Manchester City appear keen to make Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez their player

Alexis Sanchez's Arsenal future is uncertain
Alexis Sanchez's Arsenal future is uncertain

Manchester City stepped up their bid to prise Alexis Sanchez away from Arsenal on Thursday's transfer deadline day.

City were determined to test the Gunners' resolve to hold on to Sanchez by making a second bid for the Chile forward, Press Association Sport understands.

Sanchez has a year remaining on his contract and could leave for nothing next summer - and his future could be the biggest story of a deadline day which is expected to be busy for the Premier League's elite.

Arsenal have already sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to Liverpool for £35million, while Serge Aurier joined Tottenham from Paris St Germain in a £23m move.

Swansea completed a coup by signing Renato Sanches, the Portugal international midfielder, on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.

And Swansea could re-sign Wilfried Bony from Manchester City after having a £12m bid accepted.

Bony appears likely to be a replacement for Fernando Llorente, the Spain striker who could join Aurier at Tottenham.

Llorente had been expected to be reunited with Antonio Conte - his former boss at Juventus - at Chelsea, but negotiations with Spurs are more advanced.

Chelsea had been linked with Oxlade-Chamberlain, too, and could be left frustrated once more.

Conte has repeatedly spoken of the need for the Premier League champions to add to their thin squad, but they are leaving it late with the deadline at 2300BST on Thursday.

The likes of Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater and injured Everton forward Ross Barkley have also been linked with the Blues.

Drinkwater has handed in a transfer request at Leicester and Demarai Gray has also asked to be allowed to move on, with Bournemouth having had a £25million bid rejected on Wednesday.

Riyad Mahrez, a key figure in Leicester's surprise title triumph, has been allowed to leave the Algeria squad and return to Europe to "formalise his transfer to his new club", the Algerian Football Federation announced late on Wednesday.

Roma have had three bids rejected for the 26-year-old, the third for £32million.

The likes of Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are also reported to be interested in Mahrez, who was PFA Player of the Year in 2016.

Arsenal will be expected to recruit should Sanchez be sold, contrary to earlier claims from manager Arsene Wenger, who said he would rather hold on to the former Barcelona man and allow him to leave for nothing at the end of the season.

Sanchez on Twitter 'liked' a message which said he was staying at Arsenal. The tweet included a video of an Arsenal fan singing a version of East 17's 'Stay Now' which was penned in tribute to the Chilean.

There were suggestions earlier in the week the Gunners might be interested in a player exchange for England forward Raheem Sterling, but City distanced themselves from that possibility.

Defenders Jonny Evans of West Brom and Virgil van Dijk of Southampton have also been linked with City, who have accepted a bid of more than £20m for Eliaquim Mangala. Liverpool could also move for Dutchman Van Dijk.

Manchester United, after three wins from three games, appear unlikely to be busy on deadline day, unless an irresistible opportunity arises.

And Jose Mourinho may be content to watch his rivals - and former club Chelsea - trying to augment their squads.

Philippe Coutinho has been linked with Barcelona, although Liverpool insist the Brazilian is not for sale. The Reds have let Divock Origi leave on loan for the season at Wolfsburg.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa could also move to Spain, where the transfer window runs for another day.

Costa is in a stand-off with Chelsea and agitating for a return to Atletico Madrid, with a potential deal complicated by the fact the Spanish club are unable to register new players until January.

The only other completed deals by 1500BST on Thursday, eight hours prior to the deadline, saw Nahki Wells join Burnley from Huddersfield for an undisclosed fee.

And Watford signed goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis on a season-long loan from Udinese.

Press Association

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