Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti has praised potential transfer target and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez. Ancelotti has admitted he is a fan of the Chilean attacker while also suggesting the Bundesliga giants could make a move for the Gunners talisman, should he become available this summer.
The Bayern boss talked up Sanchez’s talent, per Rob Guest of Football.London: “If an opportunity comes up, the club will be ready. There are lots of rumours. Alexis is a great player but not the only one in the world. I like Alexis.”
Ancelotti’s endorsement of Sanchez comes after Bayern president Uli Hoeness appeared to cast a doubt a deal could be done this summer. Speaking to German publication Kicker (h/t MailOnline’s Jack Bezants): “But you cannot reconstruct a team by signing 29- or 30-year-old players for €100m. That is no policy.”
It’s a sentiment Ancelotti appeared to echo, per DW Sports:
However, there is renewed hope for any potential suitor interested in Sanchez, who turns 29 in December and whose contract with the Gunners expires in 2018. BBC Sport’s David Ornstein has revealed how Arsenal may relent to the South American’s desire to leave, should he express such a request:
Ornstein’s reference to a “big offer” from Arsenal to Sanchez is also made by Mark Irwin of The Sun, who has revealed the player has been presented with a contract set to pay him at least £280,000 per week, which would be double his current wages.
Such an offer shows the Gunners are doing all they can to keep their marquee forward. However, the player himself is non-committal on where his future lies, with links to both Bayern and Manchester City ongoing.
Sanchez has helped Chile reach Sunday’s 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup final in Russia and was asked by Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports News HQ whether he will play at City next season:
As Swanson pointed out, Sanchez was also evasive on the issue of whether he will stay at Arsenal:
If there is a sliver of hope for Arsenal fans, it comes from Ornstein detailing the lack of offers made to the Gunners so far:
Manager Arsene Wenger is right to plan for Sanchez staying in the fold. The Chilean’s mix of goals and creativity makes him the most complete attacker in the Premier League.
Sanchez has improved his overall game on Wenger’s watch since moving to north London in 2014. He is now a complete player, having scored 30 goals and provided 13 assists last season, per WhoScored.com.
Sanchez’s combination play with club-record signing Mesut Ozil is essential to the way Arsenal attack. Wenger is already working on redefining the Gunners’ forward line, with a deal for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette getting closer, according to Ornstein.
The Sanchez and Ozil double act is vital for the Gunners.
The Sanchez and Ozil double act is vital for the Gunners.GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
Lacazette’s chances of quickly becoming a success in England’s top flight will naturally be stronger if Sanchez is still around to support him.
Schalke Want to Keep Arsenal Midfield Target
Schalke 04 reportedly want to keep mooted Arsenal transfer target Leon Goretzka. The Bundesliga club is planning to retain the player wanted by Arsenal and Bayern, according to sporting director Christian Heidel.
Speaking to the team’s official website (h/t Goal’s Jamie Smith), Heidel said: “We’ll definitely go into the next season with Leon. Maybe he is the most important player for us. It makes no sense to us to let him leave ahead of this season.”
Arsenal had been linked with a possible bid worth £21 million for Goretzka, per Tom Doyle of the London Evening Standard. However, the player himself recently resisted engaging in any transfer talk, per Michael Cox of Sky Sports: “I do not want to say anything about the transfer rumours; I’m focusing on the Confederations Cup.”
Goretzka has been thriving at the Confederations Cup, but the 22-year-old is far from the only central midfield playmaker Arsenal have been linked with this summer.
The Gunners have also been linked with Napoli pass-master Jorginho, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football-Italia.net). Meanwhile, Ed Aarons of the Guardian has reported Arsenal are still keen on Nice workhorse Jean Michael Seri:
These links show Wenger is determined to add to his options in the middle this summer. Specifically, he seems to want a cultured passer next to 2016 signing Granit Xhaka, another central player comfortable in possession.
Adding a steady force alongside Xhaka would give Arsenal a stronger platform at the heart of the 3-4-2-1 formation Wenger switched the team to late last season. Together with a rejuvenated forward line still underpinned by the brilliance of Sanchez, a more secure base would make Arsenal legitimate title contenders.