Arsenal Transfer News: Alexis Sanchez Exit Rumours Persist, Alvaro Morata Latest

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez continues to be linked with a move away from the club, with the latest rumours claiming he would love to reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, while Juventus have shot down reports Alvaro Morata could be sold.

Gossip website Don Balon (h/t the Daily Express' James Dickenson) claims Sanchez sees Guardiola as the "greatest manager in the world" and would be tempted to follow the Spaniard to whichever club he joins next summer, with City currently favoured.

Don Balon, which isn't to be confused with the magazine that went out of business in 2011, previously claimed Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli would only take the job at Chelsea if Sanchez was bought, but per Dickenson, the former Barcelona man doesn't want to move to the Blues.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road stadium on November 29, 2015 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The 27-year-old became an instant hit at the Emirates Stadium when he joined Arsenal in 2014, quickly emerging as the team's most talented and productive forward. With his pace, trickery and scoring prowess, he became a fan favourite in a matter of weeks.

Per, he scored an impressive 16 Premier League goals in that debut season, setting himself up to play a massive role in the Gunners' title quest in 2015-16.

Injuries have somewhat derailed the current campaign for the Chile international, but he's been as productive as ever in limited appearances. Sanchez looks likely to play a huge role in the second half of the season, handing Arsenal's attack a massive boost when he returns.

The current links to clubs like City and Chelsea are a little questionable, as Sanchez is yet to give any indication he would be willing to leave the Emirates. It's highly unlikely Arsenal would even consider selling to a direct rival, especially with the new Premier League TV deal kicking in.

Clubs like Chelsea and City used to be able to convince even their rivals to sell by making offers so absurd that it was impossible to say no. But these days, every single Premier League club is flush with cash, and the most vital players, like Sanchez, are simply unavailable.

The only scenario in which a sale would make sense would be if Sanchez himself demanded a transfer, which he could if he was that desperate to work with Guardiola. The manager did bring him to the Camp Nou back in 2011, and he seemed adamant to get him involved as much as possible.

But a move still seems unlikely. City have no need for another forward who mainly plays in a wide role, with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne already in the squad. Add to that Arsenal's reservations about selling to a Premier League team, and a summer move becomes nearly impossible.

GENOA, ITALY - JANUARY 10:  Alvaro Morata of Juventus FC looks on during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Juventus FC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on January 10, 2016 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Juventus director of football Giuseppe Marotta has ruled out a sale of Morata, the reported Arsenal target who has recently dropped in the pecking order in Turin. Per Marca, he said:

We have no interest in dealing with Real Madrid or any other club. We've never considered selling Morata. He's part of the backbone of this team; he's a youngster who's shown he's the real thing. We're used to keeping hold of players like him.

The Spain international was one of Juventus' breakout players last season, but a rough stretch of form has resulted in a spot on the bench in recent weeks, with Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic starting the bulk of the matches.

Mandzukic has a similar profile as Morata and is simply in better form, but that hasn't stopped transfer speculation from surfacing. The Daily Telegraph (h/t the Independent's Samuel Stevens) claims the Gunners are ready to pounce.

Here's a look at what the youngster brings to the table:

Former club Real Madrid inserted a buy-back clause into the deal to sell Morata to Juventus, which is set to be activated this summer. But, as explained by Stevens, their transfer ban could complicate matters, opening the door for Arsenal to swoop in.

Juventus have no intention of selling, however, particularly at a time when Morata's value is down. The 23-year-old proved himself to be an effective striker last year, and his current lack of form won't result in a sale just yet.