Man City are in danger of missing out on signing Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez after Real Madrid launched a charm offensive on the Arsenal star. Sanchez was inches away from joining City in the summer, but the deal fell through at the last minute as Arsenal could not agree terms with a potential replacement, Thomas Lemar. Now Sanchez will leave on a free transfer next summer and City were thought to be at the head of the queue to sign him. But Real may have stolen a march on their rivals, with the revelation that Real president Florentino Perez has started talks with the Chilean over a move to the Bernebeu next summer.
Of course, City might not be too worried about this development. After all, the Citizens have just hit 15 goals unanswered in their last three games: a 5-0 drubbing of Liverpool, a 4-0 win away at Dutch champions Feyenoord in the Champions League and a 6-0 victory against Watford on Saturday. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling are on fire and City surely have the best attack in the Premier League. It is certainly one of the best in Europe, but there is always room for improvement and Sanchez would provide that.
He emerged as the most devastating attacking force in the Premier League last season, scoring 24 goals, mainly from wide areas. He put Chelsea to the sword in the FA Cup final and announced his return this season with a remarkable strike against FC Koln in the Europa League, where he danced around several defenders before unleashing an unstoppable curling strike into the top corner from an almost impossible angle. Without Sanchez, Arsenal would have been hopeless last season, and if he were at a bigger club he would have been even more effective.
The interest from Europe’s elite clubs is therefore understandable, particularly as he will come with no transfer fee next summer. Arsenal are unlikely to cash in on him in January, and it will be a clamour to win his signature for summer 2018. The chance to return to La Liga could be extremely tempting for Sanchez. He decided to leave Barcelona three years ago, when the club signed Luiz Suarez. He was in a squad with Suarez, Neymar and Leo Messi and four into three does not go, so Sanchez decided to leave in a bid to gain guaranteed first team football elsewhere. He has been sensational at Arsenal, but it is fair to say the club’s ambitions have not matched his own. This is why he so frequently cuts a frustrated figure on the pitch: after spending years playing with Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, he has high standards and the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and co frequently fail to meet them. Arsenal are rank outsiders to win the league this season and City are the favourites. Check a site like BetOnline and find its competitive odds and you will see that City are evens to win the title and Arsenal are all the way out at 25/1, because Man City have a better squad. Meanwhile Real are the Champions League favourites and City are the outsiders in that market. Sanchez wants to play alongside the best players in the business and he could do so at Real, European champions for the last two seasons in a row. Gareth Bale is out of favour at the Bernebeu and Karim Benzema might not be guaranteed of a starting berth for too much longer, so Sanchez should get into the Real team. Playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Asensio, Isco, Luka Modricand Toni Kroos could be very tempting indeed.
City have a trump card though: Sanchez worked with Guardiola at Barcelona and is keen to rekindle the relationship. If they can launch a similar charm offensive and convince him that his ambitions will be matched at the Etihad, they would be signing a player with proven ability to score goals from wide areas in the Premiership over many seasons, a man in peak physical condition and with the sort of drive and determination to win that inspires teammates.
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