Manchester United are preparing a £22 million offer for Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez, with a view to completing a deal for the Chile international before the start of the 2014/15 campaign. However, the Red Devils face stiff competition for the 25-year-old’s services from Premier League rivals Arsenal.
Sanchez has also been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, whose star player Luis Suarez - currently in the news for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini while on World Cup duty with Uruguay - is reportedly high on Barcelona’s summer transfer wish-list. But the Daily Mail claim United and Arsenal are the two clubs at the front of the queue.
Arsenal in pole position for Sanchez?
Manchester United may lose out in the race to sign Sanchez after failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League campaign. The Red Devils’ lack of European football is expected to be a stumbling block, although United boss Louis van Gaal may be able to convince the South American that the club’s absence from Europe’s premier club competition will be brief.
Arsenal and Liverpool, however, will both be competing in the Champions League next term. Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has been tracking Sanchez since 2009, when the winger was busy lighting up Serie A with Udinese.
Sanchez to decide future after World Cup
Whether Sanchez leaves Barcelona or stays at the Camp Nou will ultimately depend on whether the Catalan giants sign another star to play in his position. However, the in-form Chilean winger - who will decide his future after his national team finish their World Cup campaign - was one of the club’s outstanding performers last season, netting 21 goals and providing 15 assists in 54 appearances.
Despite those impressive statistics, Barcelona are believed to be keen on adding Suarez to their ranks. It’s unclear whether the Uruguayan’s bizarre actions against Italy have dampened their enthusiasm, though; while Liverpool will be determined to retain their top scorer’s services ahead of what promises to be an extremely demanding campaign.
Suarez faces potential lengthy ban
Before Barcelona submit a formal move for Suarez, they will wait to see what sort of punishment is dished out to the Liverpool forward. While some reports speculate that the live-wire forward will be suspended for several Uruguay matches, other sources claim he faces a much longer ban applying to all competitions.
There may also be an issue with the Barcelona supporters, who may be reluctant to see such a controversial and divisive character come to the Camp Nou to team up with Lionel Messi, Neymar and co.
Who needs him most?
Manchester United are in desperate need of an injection of quality, but recently extended the contract of current first-choice right winger Antonio Valencia, whose performances have disappointed many at Old Trafford over the last two seasons. Arsenal, meanwhile, already have key players in wide positions: namely Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski. The likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil can also play on the flanks.
Liverpool, meanwhile, may accept Sanchez as a makeweight in any deal involving Suarez. But, for the moment, that idea remains pure speculation.
What can Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool fans expect to see from Alexis Sanchez next season? Take a look at this video to watch some of his best moments...