Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sanchez Can Go but Only If City Stump Up PS70m and Gunners Can Replace Him

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sanchez Can Go but Only If City Stump Up PS70m and Gunners Can Replace Him

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

THE long-running saga over Alexis Sanchez's future is set to go down to the wire today, with Manchester City preparing to make one final offer in the region of PS70 million and Arsenal spending transfer deadline day scouting Europe for a replacement.

The Gunners began the day facing a mammoth task of resisting strong interest in Sanchez from City. He has made it clear he would prefer a move to be completed before tonight's 11pm deadline.

City have sent a medical and legal team out to Chile, where they are on standby to complete the formalities of a transfer should a fee be agreed in time. The timeframe is complicated by Sanchez's involvement in Chile's World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, which kicks off at 11.30pm UK time.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spent the summer denying that Sanchez would be sold, but the insipid nature of last weekend's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool only underlined the dangers of keeping players with ambiguous commitment to the club.

Wenger also denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would leave, but the 24-year-old's poor performance at Anfield -- having already told the club he would not sign a new deal -- prompted Arsenal to sanction a PS40m sale to Liverpool.

That deal will be completed today, after Oxlade-Chamberlain passed a medical at St George's Park last night before flying to Malta for England's World Cup qualifier tomorrow.

Selling Sanchez would be a different matter altogether, however, given his talismanic importance to the club, not to mention the symbolic element of reluctantly losing a key player so late in the transfer window.

The Gunners are therefore unlikely to sell unless a suitable replacement can be brought in -- but that is not a straightforward task.

The most logical starting point would be to include a City player in partexchange for Sanchez, but there has so far been no progress in attempts to insert into the deal Raheem Sterling or Sergio Aguero, two players whom Wenger has long admired.

Wenger told Standard Sport last week that a deal for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar was "dead", but should Liverpool receive any encouragement in their pursuit of the 21-year-old, Arsenal would most likely revive their interest. …

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