Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Alexis Sanchez and Isco Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal could face a fight in holding onto star forward Alexis Sanchez if ex-Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli is appointed Chelsea manager, but there's good news on the horizon regarding the Gunners' hunt to sign Isco.

According to John Richardson of the Daily Express, Sampaoli will make former Chile charge Sanchez his "primary transfer target" if he's elected to take over from interim Chelsea chief Guus Hiddink in the summer.

Sanchez was Chile's star player throughout Sampaoli's reign.
Sanchez was Chile's star player throughout Sampaoli's reign.Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The 55-year-old has been linked with the Stamford Bridge role after stepping down following a four-year tenure at the helm of Chile, throughout which Sanchez played a major role as his standout asset.

Sampaoli is allegedly being considered for the Chelsea job after winning the 2015 Copa America last year, Chile's first major tournament title. Sanchez showed his importance to Arsenal on Saturday, when he bagged the winner in a 2-1 victory over Burnley in the FA Cup, as shown by BT Sport:

The north Londoners would undoubtedly be aghast to the idea of losing their South American superstar, especially if that departure means selling to a London rival like Chelsea.

Although Sampaoli would have an ace up his sleeve in being able to lure the winger based on their time together with Chile, former Arsenal attacker John Hartson told Match of the Day just how crucial he is to the club's trophy hopes:

According to Richardson, Sampaoli is already learning English, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is likely to prove an accommodating negotiator when it comes to the talents of his star man, signed in 2014.

Elsewhere, it's been reported Real Madrid have offered midfield misfit Isco to Arsenal for just £25 million, with Los Merengues supposedly keen on the idea of reducing their wage bill.

So said the Independent, which claimed Isco has been given the chance to complete a move away from the Bernabeu two-and-a-half years after joining Los Blancos for a fee of €30 million (h/t Telegraph).

Isco has made 19 starts for Real Madrid this season.
Isco has made 19 starts for Real Madrid this season.Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Isco was a fringe figure under former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez, but after starting in a recent 5-1 hammering of Sporting Gijon, he suggested to Spanish newspaper AS that things were looking up under Zinedine Zidane: “We always try and play as well as we can. Maybe we understand better what Zidane wants from us, and it shows on the pitch”.

The Telegraph supposed that Zidane plans to offload Isco in preparation for a summer surge on Chelsea's Eden Hazard, but even £25 million may be considered too rich for Arsenal's taste when it comes to Isco.

The former Malaga prodigy would be competing against the likes of former La Liga aces Sanchez and Mesut Ozil for playing time if he were to move to north London, having struggled with the competition in Madrid.