According to a report by ESPN’s Pete O’Rourke, Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could be a Manchester City player as soon as the end of the week as the clubs have opened formal discussions for the Chilean.
The Gunners are in a position of weakness regarding the status of Sanchez, given that he is out of contract in the summer and has refused to discuss a new deal. Despite knowledge that the 29-year-old would likely not sign a new deal, Arsenal decided to keep Sanchez in the face of numerous transfer offers this summer. Now, they will almost certainly be forced to accept a cut-rate deal in order to get anything for his services and avoid letting him walk this summer for free.
The ESPN report states Manchester City is hoping to secure a deal of around $41 million, while a report by John Cross of The Mirror released soon after quoted City’s expectations at $34 million.
Cross points out that City was previously ready to wait until the summer to make their move for Sanchez, but the serious injury suffered by Gabriel Jesus plus knocks to Kevin De Bruyne have given them reason to go after the Chilean now.
While Arsenal has come to the table willing to talk, they are not yet convinced by that low of a price, given the recent deals for superstars of Sanchez’s value, namely Philippe Coutinho who was sold by Liverpool to Barcelona for $192 million. While it’s out of the question for Arsenal to expect anything remotely close to that return for Sanchez given the club’s position of weakness, the Gunners reportedly believe City’s initial valuation of the player is still well below their asking price.
Manchester City, already on track for the most dominant title run in years – and maybe ever – would only be bolstered by the addition of a player who played 41 matches for Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and whom the City boss already attempted to acquire last summer. Their attacking prowess this season has proven unprecedented, with Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, and the rest of the City strike force playing with a cohesiveness and cutting edge that has been held goalless just once all season in any competition.
The addition of Sanchez would only make that team even more fearsome, although it would be a bigger burden on the manager to fit all the key players together and get them all the playing time they deserve.
Meanwhile, for Arsenal, while they would obviously love to avoid letting Sanchez walk for free, the Gunners are still very much alive in the battle for the final Champions League place, currently two points back of Tottenham in fifth place and five points behind Liverpool in fourth. The loss of Sanchez would be a massive blow to their hopes of a second-half surge, and it could be the difference between a return to the Champions League and a second straight season outside Europe’s top competition.