Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Alexis Sanchez and Hakan Calhanoglu

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal  during the Emirates FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has reportedly agreed terms for a transfer to Premier League rivals Manchester City.

Sanchez will move to the Etihad Stadium and reunite with manager Pep Guardiola, who worked with him at Barcelona, according to Chilean journalist Fernando Solabarrieta (h/t Charles Watts of Football.London).

Solabarrieta believes City will pay the Gunners £50 million for attacking talisman Sanchez. The player has just one year left on his Arsenal contract and has yet to sign a new deal despite being offered "in the region of £300,000 per week" to commit his future to the FA Cup winners, per Watts, who also noted London rivals Chelsea remain keen on Sanchez.

Selling Sanchez to a domestic rival is something Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is determined to avoid, though, according to Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph.

However, Wilson also noted how Sanchez's contract situation, along with any determination he has to leave Arsenal, may take the issue out of Wenger's hands: "Chelsea and Manchester City are also interested in Sanchez, but although the player likes living in London and may be willing simply to run down his contract, Arsenal will not want to risk losing their best player for nothing next season to a direct rival."

Sanchez worked with City boss Guardiola at Barcelona.
Sanchez worked with City boss Guardiola at Barcelona.Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Sanchez's freedom to leave for nothing if he doesn't sign a new deal puts the power in the player's hands. Yet the Gunners could avoid selling him within England's top flight by indulging the interest from Bayern Munich.

The Bundesliga giants are prepared to pay £40 million for Sanchez and meet his wage demands, per Wilson, who believes Arsenal will have trouble resisting if the Chilean doesn't sign a new contract.

The player himself recently said his future will be resolved by talks between the Gunners and his representatives, per Sky Sports.

Losing Sanchez would be a bitter blow for Arsenal after the South American forward enjoyed a spectacular 2016/17 campaign. Sanchez scored 30 goals in all competitions, per WhoScored.com, helping Wenger's men win a third FA Cup in four seasons by thriving at both centre-forward and on the flanks.

Wenger doesn't want to sell Sanchez to a rival from the Premier League.
Wenger doesn't want to sell Sanchez to a rival from the Premier League.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The prolific Chile international is the one match-winner approaching world-class status in Wenger's squad. However, keeping him won't be easy after Arsenal finished fifth and will consequently be playing UEFA Europa League football next season.

If a club that has qualified for the UEFA Champions League makes an offer in the range of £50 million or more for a player soon to be 29, Wenger may be wise to cash in and use the funds to help build a new-look squad ahead of different challenges next season.

         

Gunners Keen on Bayer Leverkusen Playmaker

Part of Arsenal's rebuild could involve the signing of Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turkey international is wanted by the Gunners, Chelsea and Serie A side Lazio, per Turkish outlet Aksam (h/t the Daily Mirror).

Calhanoglu has a £32.5 million release clause in his contract, according to the Mirror report. He is also a player with the technique and flair that suits the kind of expansive and possession-based game Wenger has always preached at Arsenal.

Still only 23, Calhanoglu can play between the lines and is deadly from free-kicks. He provided seven goals and seven assists this season, per WhoScored.com.

However, his season was marred by a four-month ban for violating his contract with Turkish side Trabzonspor before moving to Germany, per BBC Sport.

Interestingly, Calhanoglu has been compared to Arsenal's primary schemer, Mesut Ozil. The latter also has just one year left on his contract, and like Sanchez, he has yet to agree new terms with the Gunners.

Calhanoglu could be a potential replacement for Ozil.
Calhanoglu could be a potential replacement for Ozil.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Making a move for Calhanoglu could be Wenger's way of either forcing Ozil to make a decision or starting to prepare for life without him.

Wenger may want to avoid it, but he could have no choice but to part company with his two star players this summer. Yet doing so needn't spell disaster for Arsenal—not if funds collected in return for Sanchez and Ozil are invested wisely in skilled replacements who would maintain Wenger's adherence to attractive, attacking football.