Sunday 22 July 2018

Transfer round-up: Manchester United's double raid on Arsenal and have Chelsea joined race for Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez, left, looks set to leave but will Mesut Ozil?
Alexis Sanchez, left, looks set to leave but will Mesut Ozil?

Manchester United could well start the 2018-19 season with Arsenal's current strike force, as the club still plan to try and sign Mesut Ozil on a free in a summer, even if they get Alexis Sanchez in this window.

Jose Mourinho could thereby be the biggest beneficiary of Arsene Wenger's struggle to get a raft of players to sign new deals, as the Portuguese manager could well end up with the Emirates' two biggest stars.

United's initial plan had been to move for Ozil in the summer when his current deal expires, and there had been a widespread expectation that Sanchez would go to City.

That changed in the last few days, when it became apparent that a punt by the club could lead to something more.

While they were initially just testing the waters in letting it be known they would trump their neighbours for Sanchez, the Old Trafford hierarchy found it could be much more possible than they had anticipated, due to the Chilean's impatience at getting out of Arsenal.

United's back-up plan of trying to sign Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy is unlikely to go ahead, according to the Leicester Mercury.

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United, who are now getting increasingly confident that they will sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, were reported to be considering the 31-year-old to back-up Romelu Lukaku but have since decided against it given the Foxes' £35m price-tag.

Meanwhile, United are ready to make David De Gea the highest paid player at the club by offering him a new contract to keep him out of the clutches of Real Madrid once and for all.

The Sun report the Old Trafford club are ready to offer the goalkeeper £300,000-a-week to stay to put him on the same amount as Paul Pogba.

De Gea is out of contract in the summer of 2019, but United do have an option of extending the deal for another 12 months.

Arsene Wenger is determined to stay on for another summer of rebuilding at Arsenal, and still hopes that he will not have to replace both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the same time.

Admitting for the first time that Sanchez's departure is inevitable, whether this month or in the summer, Wenger sounded more positive about his two other stars with six months left. He claimed he is increasingly optimistic of reaching a deal with Ozil, if they can agree a salary, and also wants to tie down the fit-again Jack Wilshere to the club.

If Ozil and Wilshere can be secured then Wenger hopes that "the rebuild will be less deep", and it will not be so hard to launch the club's 2018-19 Premier League challenge, a job that Wenger is already relishing.

"There is still an opportunity for him to stay, talks are still alive, very much so.

"These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well. So they want a combination of the two, that big clubs can give them. Incidentally he's won trophies with us. So he wants to fight as well for the Premier League, that's normal, when you are at that level."

Tottenham are willing to drop their interest in Malcolm amid interest from Arsenal.

The Times report that Bordeaux want around £45m for the 20-year-old and Spurs are unwilling to pay that, whereas the Gunners are eyeing him to be their replacement for the outgoing Alexis Sanchez.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has labelled Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez a "good investment", sparking suggestions that the Blues could also be in the queue for the Chilean, along with Manchester United and Manchester City.

He said: "I think it is a good investment. We are talking about a top player and you can buy him for a price not so high. The amount is around £20 million. Maybe a normal price for Alexis Sánchez is €80-90m. This is my opinion."

Independent News Service

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