Man City confident of signing Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez in January
Manchester City are expected to make a January move for Alexis Sánchez with players at Arsenal understood to believe the Chilean will finally be allowed to leave.
City failed with a bid of £60 million for Sánchez just 24 hours before the close of the summer transfer but manager Pep Guardiola has not given up hope of signing him this season.
Sánchez would be free to talk to clubs from Jan 1 and sign a pre-contract for next season, with his current deal at Arsenal expiring on June 30 and no sign of a new contract being agreed, but it is understood that City will make a cash offer in January to bring in the 28-year-old.
Arsenal conditionally accepted City’s bid at the end of August but they were unable to sign Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar, despite offering more than £90m for the French international, and Guardiola would not sanction a request to let Raheem Sterling go in part-exchange for Sánchez.
Sánchez was also wanted by Paris St-Germain last summer but they ended up signing their first-choices of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé and are unlikely to make a move during the next window when their priority will be to sell some players, instead, to ensure they comply with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations. The most likely departure from PSG is Ángel Di María. Arsenal have shown interest in the past in Julian Draxler but it is believed PSG would prefer not to sell the German international this season.
Sánchez wants to join City to be reunited with Guardiola who he played under at Barcelona and believes he has a greater chance of winning silverware if he moves to the Etihad Stadium. City, also, will be willing to meet his wage demands.
If Arsenal decide to sell Sánchez in January it will be interesting to see how it is received by the club’s supporters given he is, by far, their best player. However he is set to leave for free, otherwise.
It may depend on how Arsenal are faring in the Premier League, by then, and the replacement manager Arsène Wenger is able to line up and how much pressure he is under.
Nevertheless there will be a sense of relief from some players at Arsenal if the saga around Sánchez is resolved with the striker leaving. They believe his refusal to sign a new contract, his desire to go and the constant speculation around him has had a detrimental effect on the squad. Interestingly Mesut Özil, who has also refused to sign a new deal and is in the final year of his contract, has barely featured for Arsenal this season.
City offered £60m for Sánchez – £55m plus £5m in add-ons – but if they make a bid in January, as expected, it will be for significantly less. It also helps that Arsenal are in the Europa League this season meaning that if City do sign him and they are in the latter stages of the Champions League he will be eligible to play for them.