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Alexis Sanchez on new contract: “It depends on Arsenal”

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Alexis Sanchez has spoken for the first time about the ongoing contract situation at Arsenal.

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The Chilean forward, 27, has 18 months left on his current deal and Arsene Wenger is asked about the negotiations for both Sanchez and Ozil in every press conference.

Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Wenger has accused journalists of “lacking in creativity” as he continues to be asked about Sanchez’s future, while reports suggesting big money contracts from Manchester City, $500,000 per week  deals from China and elsewhere are being offered to the former Barcelona forward.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the trip to the Etihad, Sanchez has firmly placed the ball in Arsenal’s court.

“I’m focused more on winning football matches – I’m staying concentrated on that. It really doesn’t depend on me – if they want to show confidence in me. I’m very happy at the club. I love all the staff. I’m very grateful for everybody here,” Sanchez said. “It depends on Arsenal. I enjoy the relationship with the fans. I want to achieve more for them. I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.”

“I’ve told my agent I don’t want to speak about this too much when all the rumors are going around – it can distract a player from their main focus of concentration. I’m playing well and scoring goals. I’m achieving my objectives. I’m just focused on playing football, Sunday is a very important match.

“I’ve got an agent who deals with all of this, so I just want to focus on making the fans happy. I’m very relaxed. I’m trying not to let it bother me – that’s not what I want. We’ll see when it’s all resolved – I’m very calm. I’ve told my agent I don’t want to speak about this sort of thing.”

So, that’s quite a big move from Sanchez to admit he doesn’t want his agent to talk to him about the contract situation for the foreseeable future. That could mean nothing will be sorted until the end of the season, which would leave Sanchez with just a year left on his deal at Arsenal.

It is reported that Sanchez’s representatives are asking for $362,000 per week, while Arsenal is offering $250,000. Sanchez currently earns $162,000.

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With Paul Pogba and Manchester United’s to stars all on over $300,000 per week, both Sanchez and Ozil feel like they deserve similar wages.

It’s hard to argue with that. Especially when it comes to Sanchez.

Whether he’s played out wide or more recently through the middle as the lone striker, Sanchez has excelled in his three seasons at the Emirates Stadium. This season he has scored 14 goals and has eight assists in 22 games in all competitions, with his importance to Arsenal clear.

For Arsenal’s fans who have seen Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and others move on after similar contract disputes in the past, they’ll be getting more nervous the longer this goes on.

From the outside looking in, wouldn’t it make more sense to lock Sanchez down to a long-term contract rather than spend $60-70 million to replace him and then pay someone else similar wages?

Sanchez should demand some of the highest wages in the Premier League and Arsenal need to deliver know they’re financially much more competitive after years of paying off the move to the Emirates Stadium.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]

With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

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MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]