Alexis Sanchez, after combining for 19 league goals in his first seasons with Barcelona, has already scored 11 times in La Liga's first 18 rounds. (Photo: AP.)

Arsenal and Liverpool to battle it out for $50 million Alexis Sanchez


After a superb World Cup with Chile, lightning-quick striker Alexis Sanchez is a man in demand.

Except, not with his own team.

As FC Barcelona plan to cash in all of their chips for Liverpool’s star striker Luis Suarez, more from PST’s Mike Prindiville about that potential $130 million deal, the Catalan club are looking to offload Sanchez.

Liverpool were thought to have been initially offered Sanchez as a make-weight in the Suarez deal but instead the Anfield club want straight cash for their Uruguayan ace. According to reports in the Daily Mail, Sanchez will cost at least $50 million as Barca look to recoup cash in order to fund their deal for Suarez.

Sanchez, 25, shone at the World Cup as he scored twice and added an assist as Chile qualified from Group B ahead of Spain before their heartbreaking defeat to hosts Brazil on penalty kicks in the last 16. His pace and power make him extremely well-suited to the Premier League, so it’s no wonder Liverpool and Arsenal are now involved in a good old fashioned tug of war.

After joining Barca in 2011 from Serie A side Udinese, Sanchez has scored 47 goals and added 34 assists in 141 games for Barca. His ability to play centrally or out wide would fit into both Arsenal and Liverpool’s systems as their attackers fluid movement across the lines make the Chilean speedster an ideal acquisition.

Arsenal’s need is perhaps greater, as they only have Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo up top, plus the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are coming off injury-hit 2013-14 seasons. As for Liverpool, if they sell Suarez, they only have Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert as recognized strikers but do have the likes of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and many others who can play in advanced roles supporting a lone front man.

Let’s see how this race plays out and if Sanchez ends up at Anfield or the Emirates by the end of this summer.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)