Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their interest in Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and are ready to make a bid for him in the summer. The Chile international has fallen out of favour with the Catalans this season, making only 11 starts in the league, with two goals and four assists to his name.
The Daily Mail reports that Arsene Wenger has been a long-time admirer of the player and the 24-year-old tops the list of the Frenchman's striker targets. However, Arsenal will have to fend off interest from Liverpool, Manchester City and Inter Milan, with the Italians reportedly agreeing terms with the player for a transfer in the summer. Liverpool will step up their interest in Sanchez, if they fail to keep Luis Suarez at Anfield, with the Uruguayan attracting interest from City and Bayern Munich.
Sanchez was transferred to Barcelona from Udinese in 2011 and had a breakthrough first season with the Catalans, where he scored 12 goals and assisted five in only 20 league starts However, with Barcelona looking to sign Neymar and Sanchez failing to live up to the expectations this term, Arsenal are looking to seize the opportunity and improve their attack, which has been inconsistent this season.
The Gunners will be boosted by the comments of former sporting director at Udinese, Fabrizio Larini, who has urged Sanchez to join Arsenal as he believes that the philosophy of football at the north London club will complement Sanchez's style of play.
"Sanchez needs to play the ball on the ground, just like Arsenal. That would be his ideal game. I do not know his current situation at the Spanish club. But his fitness problems have definitely limited his performances.The only thing that these teams will have to consider is that he is a player who needs freedom to play his way. In teams that have particularly rigid patterns of play he might have a few problems," Larini said.
Wenger may look to sweeten the package for Barcelona with a swap deal, by including Thomas Vermaelen, who has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou in the summer. However, any move for the Sanchez will depend on Arsenal's ability to qualify for the Champions League next season, with the Gunners currently four points off fourth-placed Tottenham but with a game in hand.