Arsenal have reportedly offered talisman Alexis Sanchez a club-record £300,000-per-week contract in a bid to ward off interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Meanwhile, the Gunners have ended interest in Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez.
The Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel reported the Gunners submitted the new offer after Sanchez previously rejected terms worth £225,000 per week, a figure that could have increased to £275,000 per week including bonuses.
Sanchez has been mentioned in transfer speculation throughout the summer after entering the final year of his Arsenal contract, with big-spending City and French titans PSG the main pair linked with his services.
It's little wonder some of Europe's elite might look to poach the Chile international after Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season. Squawka highlighted what a talismanic presence he is in north London:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal in the league last season: Most take-ons (109) Most through balls (48) Most goals (24) Most assists (10) ⭐️ https://t.co/gGhGusF2d02017-8-10 22:31:00
It's unknown whether the £300,000-per-week offer will match Sanchez's expectations, but Mokbel noted that was the figure at which he expected to begin negotiations, meaning Arsenal should now be on the same wavelength.
But manager Arsene Wenger is still uncertain as to whether the salary increase will be enough to extend Sanchez's deal. He told French broadcaster SFR Sport (h/t ESPN FC's Ian Holyman):
"He's an Arsenal player in the short term. Now, will we manage to extend his contract?
"We didn't manage to do that last season so I'm not super optimistic in that regard, but we have the firm intention of not selling him."
It's not unheard of for Arsenal to allow players to run down their contracts closer to their expiration dates than other elite English clubs, and Wenger spoke of Sanchez's contract recently, via Goal's Chris Wheatley:
Chris Wheatley @ChrisWheatley_
Arsene Wenger on Alexis Sanchez. https://t.co/cyXlVWPF592017-8-9 16:58:11
Elsewhere, Wenger has ruled out a move for Leicester wide man Mahrez after insisting the Gunners were "never close" in their pursuit of the player, per Jon Paul of the Leicester Mercury: "We were never close. I rate him as a player, but we have similar types with Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere back, Mesut Ozil ... we have plenty of the same type of players."
James Benge of the London Evening Standard referenced Wenger's comments but questioned whether Mahrez was worth the outlay with other options already at the club:
James Benge @jamesbenge
Much the same case as I reported last year. Arsenal like Mahrez, Wenger especially, but honestly would he add enough to justify price?2017-8-10 21:55:46
Some may disagree with that sentiment and feel Arsenal could do with the addition of the 2015-16 PFA Players' Player of the Year, who has stood out as one of the Foxes' elite stars in recent years.
Some sections of the Arsenal support may feel more signings are needed entering the final phases of this summer's transfer window, but Mahrez seemingly won't be one of those arriving at the Emirates Stadium.