The talk today surrounding the tenuous future of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez brings us to two different rumors published within a couple of each other from two different sources that appear, on the surface, to be very closely linked together.
The first bit of news, courtesy of the London Evening Standard’s James Olley, is Arsenal being unwilling to part with Alexis for anything less than £50 million this summer if he fails to sign a contract extension with the club:
Arsenal do not want to risk losing Sanchez for nothing in 2019 and Standard Sport understands they are optimistic he will command a sizeable fee despite having just a year left on his existing deal.
The Gunners believe the sheer volume of clubs interested in Sanchez will help instigate a bidding war that could drive the price close to £50m; he has proved himself one of the hottest properties in Europe and that figure would reflect a reasonable market rate were it not for the fact the club are in a vulnerable negotiating position given so little time left on his contract.
Then Fabrizio Romano, writing on behalf of The Guardian, published a story indicating that Chelsea is making Alexis their number one transfer target this summer:
Chelsea have made Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez their main summer transfer target, with Antonio Conte having discussed with the club’s hierarchy the possibility of bringing the Chilean to Stamford Bridge.
The Italian manager is in talks with Chelsea over a new contract and, as part of that, summer transfers have been discussed. Conte has submitted to the club’s recruitment team, effectively headed by the director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo, a list of players he would like to sign, with Sánchez and a left-sided defender among the priorities.
Addressing the first rumor above, £50 million - minimum - is absolutely the starting point for a forward of Alexis’s caliber, especially if those clubs above are rumored to have interest in him. While there are rumors surrounding the future of Romelu Lukaku and Antoine Griezmann, those two players will probably command a transfer fee far higher than the price tag Arsenal has apparently set for Alexis should he not re-up. Getting a player in for a lower fee who has experience on the Champions League stage, at two of the biggest clubs in the world is, in a way, a value that won’t be found in comparison to his peers at the his position.
Regarding the second rumor, while I’m not entirely familiar with Romano he’s an Italian journalist who covers transfer news for Sky Sports and The Guardian, among other media outlets. I’m not going to lend a lot of credence to his rumor, but the dots are there to be easily connected. Romano, an experienced Italian journalist, reporting rumors on Chelsea and their manager Antonio Conte, an experienced Italian manager. You see why this one isn’t to be entirely dismissed, even if Arsenal doesn’t want to be back in the business of selling their top players to league and city rivals.
Personally, I don’t see how Alexis remains with the club by the start of next season. It’s absolutely fair to say he’s bit of an odd duck who hasn’t completely settled at the club, who’s been at the forefront of some of the most contentious moments the past 12 months. There appears to be a non-zero amount of current players who won’t be bummed if he were to leave, and with the talk that Mesut Özil might be willing to negotiate with Arsenal over a new deal the odds the club signs both players to extensions plus having the additional funds needed for summer signings would be extremely remote.
As with every transfer rumor story we publish, more to come etc etc.