Saturday 20 July 2019

Arsenal seek £35m deal as City prepare Sanchez bid

Manchester City have renewed their interest in Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester City have renewed their interest in Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

James Ducker

Manchester City are preparing an opening offer for Alexis Sanchez after entering into talks with Arsenal for the wantaway striker.

But Arsenal still want to secure a replacement before allowing Sanchez to leave and are holding out for up to £35 million (€39m) for the Chilean, which is considerably more than the Premier League leaders have envisaged paying.

Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir figures prominently on Arsenal's list of potential replacements this year for Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.

City and Arsenal are also facing a head-to-head battle in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion centre-half Jonny Evans as they bid to bolster their defences.

Both clubs made contact with West Brom over the weekend after failing with bids for the former Manchester United defender last summer and they are expected to hold further talks with the struggling English midlands side over the next 48 to 72 hours.

Arsenal are prepared to offer right-back Mathieu Debuchy as part of the package but Evans's preference is to play under Pep Guardiola at City and stay in the north-west of the country, even though he would be open to a move to North London.

West Brom are prepared to sell Evans after accepting that the defender, who has 18 months left on his contract, has indicated he does not want to sign a new deal at the Hawthorns.

City - who face Bristol City in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium tonight - were ready to wait until the summer for Sanchez, when he is due to become a free agent, but a worrying knee injury to Gabriel Jesus has forced them to rethink their plans.

Jesus was diagnosed with medial collateral ligament damage and ruled out for around six weeks but was told he did not require an operation.

Yet he is due to return to Barcelona this week for further assessment by Dr Ramon Cugat after initially being seen by the orthopaedic surgeon at the Quironsalud hospital last week.

City insist this was always planned but there have been unconfirmed foreign media reports that the injury may be more serious and that the Brazil forward could even have suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament.

No one at City has commented on the claims but the club appear to have concluded that they should move for Sanchez now, with Sergio Aguero their only fit, recognised centre-forward.

Sanchez would stand to make more money from a summer transfer when he would be entitled to a huge signing-on bonus as a free agent but he is thought to favour a move now.


City were thought to be reluctant to offer much more than £20m (€22m) this month and an opening bid could be around that amount but that would fall well short of Arsenal's valuation.

Arsenal would prefer to sell overseas, with Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich linked, but Sanchez's preference is City.

City's £60m (€68m) bid for Sanchez in August collapsed after Arsenal failed in a deadline-day attempt to sign Monaco's Thomas Lemar as a replacement.

Liverpool are keen to sign Lemar after selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona and Arsenal are known to have been watching Fekir closely.

A France international, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder has scored 30 goals in the past 18 months for Ligue 1 side Lyon.

Arsenal have also tracked Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang but manager Arsene Wenger ruled out the possibility of a deal last week.

Arsenal will imminently hold contract talks with Jack Wilshere, as well as Ozil, following the England midfielder's impressive first-team return, although terms of a new deal are likely to be heavily incentivised according to appearances and performances. Wilshere is out of contract at the end of the season.

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest on Sunday after resting key players, Wenger is intending to select a virtual full-strength team in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final against Chelsea tomorrow night.

Ozil, Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette are all expected to be back in the Arsenal squad.

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