Liverpool have admitted defeat in their pursuit of Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez and now accept that the talented winger will likely join their Premier League rivals Arsenal.
That is according to the Liverpool Echo, who are reporting that Brendan Rodgers’ attempts to convince the Chile international to be a part of the deal that takes Luis Suarez to Camp Nou have failed. The report claims that both Liverpool and Arsenal were ready to offer the Barcelona asking price, but that the London club were his preference after talks.
Sanchez is being allowed to depart Barcelona as the Catalan club undergo a major overhaul of the squad under new manager Luis Enrique, following a trophyless season last year. Letting the 25-year-old leave came as a surprise to some because of his impressive form over the past few seasons.
Officials from both Anfield and Emirates Stadium held talks with Sanchez’s representatives last week and the report claims he asked for time to mull over a decision over the weekend and that he informed the Reds of his intentions.
A deciding factor in the switch was that he and his family felt London was a more attractive option than the north West of England
Indications that Liverpool were not expecting to gain the services of the former Udinese star came when reports emerged they were close to securing a deal for Benfica winger Lazar Markovic. The 20-year-old is an exciting prospect and the Echp report that the deal will cost in the region of £25million, about £5million less than for Sanchez.
Kop fans should be worried
Sanchez’s decision should be one that worries Liverpool because it is further indication that they are struggling to attract Europe’s best players and that their leading star is so keen to leave. Despite falling short in the end, last season was an unexpectedly successful Premier League title challenge and gave hope to many Kop fans that a return to the Champions League and playing attractive football would see a permanent change in fortunes.
However, that Arsenal are a greater lure for an excellent player like Sanchez, despite finishing fourth and needing to navigate a qualifier to get into the Champions League, does not bode well. Rodgers cannot offer the same kind of money that Manchester United and Manchester City do to bring the best players into a less fashionable area of the country, while Chelsea are situated near one of the wealthiest parts of the country and have billionaire Roman Abramovich backing them.
Gunners back in the big time?
Arsenal’s spending power is increasing and that means they will once again be able to bring in high quality players to push them towards another, more successful title challenge. All this stacks up against Liverpool, who will find it harder to stay in the top four when targets choose rivals and Suarez leaves.
Meanwhile, Gunners fans will be ecstatic if Arsene Wenger can pull off this deal for Sanchez, because it, alongside the club record fee paid for Mesut Ozil, means they are once again major players in the transfer market.