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.
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:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
.@Alexis_Sanchez completes a great team move to slot home as @Arsenal advance into round five. #EmiratesFACup https://t.co/3soqGVrVfe2016-1-30 18:26:57
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:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
Just how important is Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal's trophy hopes this season? #MOTD #AFC https://t.co/h5P4IWinIj2016-1-30 23:05:50
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 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.