Chelsea look set to lose out on Arsenal’s star striker Alexis Sanchez who seems set to quit the Gunners, with Manchester City emerging as his preferred destination.
Chilean station Radio Cooperativa report that Sanchez has already decided that this will be his final season with Arsenal, while City are prepared to pay their Premier League rivals a £50 million transfer fee.
Sanchez is out of contract at the Gunners at the end of next season but has hinted that he is keen to depart this summer – after on-field tantrums and delayed talks over a new deal.
Ex-Arsenal talisman Paul Merson is adamant however, that Sanchez will team up with Antonio Conte at Premier League champions to be Chelsea.
“I would be shocked if Sanchez wasn’t playing for Chelsea next season,” Merson told Newsweek. “And people go, ‘Oh, don’t be silly,’ but don’t forget if he was going to sign, he probably would have done it at the start of the year.”
The attacker has starred for the north London outfit, netting 18 times in 29 games this season, while boasting the highest assist tally in the Premier League.
Two weeks ago, it appeared as if the Blues were in the driving seat to sign Sanchez. The 28-year-old was quoted commenting on his love of living in London and that he had no intention of leaving the city.
“I am happy in London and hope to finish my contract there,” he said. “I’d like to stay in the city but with a team that is winning things, that has a winning mentality. I’m 28 years old, I still have a lot of years ahead of me. I am a player who looks after himself.”
Reports last month also claimed that Antonio Conte has specifically requested the signing of Sanchez, and has informed Chelsea’s technical director, Michael Emenalo, of his wish.
Chelsea bounced back from their shock defeat by Crystal Palace with a crucial win over Pep Guardiola’s Citizens, and a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday evening.
Conte will need to keep his squad tuned-up for their next two fixtures – matches which could be season-defining. Chelsea travel to Old Trafford for a monumental fixture with Manchester United, before an FA Cup semi-final with Spurs at Wembley the following weekend.