Alexis Sanchez has agreed to join Arsenal for £30m with his agent in London to negotiate the final details of his new contract, according to reports.
Arsenal were seen as frontrunners for the signing of Sanchez, after the Chile international rejected the chance to be part of the swap deal for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, leaving the Gunners to rival Italian champions Juventus for the former Udinese star.
But it appears that Sanchez, 25, has chosen Arsenal as his next destination, as the Telegraph reports that he will complete his move to the North London club once the final details of a £100,000-plus-a-week contract have been agreed.
As part of the negotiations, Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich has flown to London to represent the Barcelona star, who returned to Catalonia this week after his time with the Chile national team at the World Cup in Brazil. Other media outlets claim that Sanchez, who offers direct pace and an ability to run past defenders, will sign a five-year deal at the Emirates.
While a fee in principle is said to be in place with Barcelona around the £30m mark, the club are still finalising how that fee will be structured, but the likelihood is that Sanchez will be cleared to undergo a medical and sign for Arsene Wenger’s side after being told he is free to leave the Spanish club.
After missing out on Sanchez, Liverpool are turning their full attentions to completing the £9.8m acquisition of Belgium striker Divock Origi, although reported interest coming from Premier League rivals Tottenham could hinder the deal, while Juventus are keen on securing Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata.
Sanchez scored 47 goals in 141 matches for Barcelona, a commendable record to say the least, but in a squad filled with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and the soon-to-be-signed Suarez, the feeling in Catalonia is that he hasn't quite cut the grade since his 37.5m euros move from Udinese.
Arsenal's interest was believed to have come before Sanchez joined the Chile national squad at the World Cup, but his performances did his reputation no harm at all as he scored against both Australia and Brazil, as well as registering an assist for Jose Valdivia's goal against the Socceroos.
Scoring 24 goals in 71 internationals, Sanchez has grown into one of Chile's most important players as the national team continue to grow into a genuine threat on the world stage. Having been part of the side that beat England at Wembley last year - where he got himself on the score-sheet - Sanchez has never faced his new club, having left Udinese before the two sides met in the Champions League play-off in August 2011 and Arsenal avoiding their old foes Barcelona since their 2010-11 European elimination three years ago.
Sanchez leaves Barcelona after a relatively successful spell with the Spanish club in terms of silverware, although he was unable to help add the Champions League crown that has eluded the club in recent seasons. Winning the Copa del Rey in his first season with the club, Sanchez was part of the side that regained the La Liga title under the guidance of the late Tito Vilanova in 2012-13, but the club experienced a disappointing campaign last term and ended the season trophyless, and it's clear that Sanchez did not fit into the plans of new manager Luis Enrique.
It remains to be seen where Sanchez fits into Arsene Wenger's plans, although it is a possibility that he will find himself in a more central role than he was afforded at the Nou Camp, either to partner or replace current striker Olivier Giroud. With the likes of a fit again Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Ozil as well as young English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain providing support, Sanchez's pace and trickery will certainly prove a constant threat to the best defenders in the Premier League, and his addition is another positive sign for the North London club to regain the league trophy they last won in 2004.
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