Arsenal are primed for another summer transfer battle with Liverpool, this time over Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez.
Following the club record £42.5million capture of Mesut Ozil last summer, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to make another marquee signing with Sanchez his No 1 target.
Barcelona are prepared to let the Chile international leave as new manager Luis Enrique stamps his authority on the club.
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And the Gunners have opened talks with Barcelona with a view to making a £22m offer for Sanchez. However, Arsenal will probably have to raise their offer as Liverpool have already discussed a £30m bid.
Barca officials, who arrived in London on Wednesday to start formal talks with Liverpool over Luis Suarez, are prepared to use Sanchez as a makeweight in their attempts to land the Uruguayan.
However, the Suarez deal is not subject to Liverpool signing Sanchez, 25.
Wednesday’s talks, which were led by Barca trio Raul Sanllehi, Toni Rossich and Jordi Mestre, are said to have been productive.
However, it is understood Sanchez’s representatives, if he is to leave the Nou Camp, want him to move to Arsenal though the decision ultimately rests with Sanchez.
If Sanchez turns down an Anfield move it would mean only a straight Barca cash offer of around £80m would persuade Liverpool to sell Suarez.
The fight to land Sanchez, who is also interesting Manchester United, is the second time in 12 months Liverpool and Arsenal have gone head to head in the transfer market.
Last summer, Arsenal’s attempts to sign Suarez and their subsequent £40,000,001 offer for the Uruguayan infuriated Anfield chiefs.
Ironically, if Sanchez does move to the Premier League he would love to go to Old Trafford because he has been a fan of United since boyhood.
Wenger has a £100m transfer kitty to strengthen his side ahead of next season and wants a striker, a central midfielder, a right-back and a back-up goalkeeper.
The Gunners have an interest in Sanchez’s international team-mate Arturo Vidal, but the midfielder’s £40m asking price is likely to prove prohibitive despite Arsenal’s healthy financial position.
Their bid to persuade Bayer Leverkusen to part with Lars Bender is proving difficult, so the Gunners are now ready to turn to Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin in their search for a defensive midfielder.
Arsenal, however, are confident of signing Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy.
Liverpool did complete one deal on Wednesday, taking Kevin Stewart, 20, on a two-year deal after the defender left Tottenham.
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