Alexis Sánchez is so keen to push through his much-mooted move to Manchester that he is willing to lose out on the £25m windfall that would accompany a summer free transfer and let Pep Guardiola give the sum – which might otherwise have become his own signing-on fee – to Arsenal instead.
But, while Arsenal may let their Mancunian rivals swoop for their Chilean forward, they are going to make it hard for them to also carry Jonny Evans away from West Brom, the Times alleging that Arsène Wenger is now a “serious rival” for the defender’s signature and is willing to send Mathieu Debuchy the other way in part-exchange.
Debuchy and Sánchez are not the only players likely to be leaving the Emirates this month, with the Gunners also open to selling Francis Coquelin and Valencia having already submitted a £12m offer for the midfielder. West Ham and Crystal Palace are also keen, though David Moyes has yet to focus his attention on any one midfield target, with Stoke’s Joe Allen, Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey and Anderlecht’s Leander Dendoncker also on his radar.
Ivan Rakitic has decided that Philippe Coutinho’s arrival probably spells the end of his time at Barcelona, and has decided that “if he ends up on the bench, he will pack his bags”. The Croatian schemer has already started exploring his options before a possible summer move and, according to Diario Gol, Juventus, Arsenal and Liverpool have already made their interest clear.
The Mirror is predicting “a three-way scramble” for Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey, the “wing sensation” who will be available in the summer for a fee of about £40m, involving Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. Chelsea have, however, balked at the price Juventus are demanding for Alex Sandro – around £60m, according to the Telegraph – meaning that Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester United could steal in and sign him instead. Manchester City are also linked, though surely splashing £60m on another full-back is too much even for them. In further Mancunian news, Marouane Fellaini has turned his nose up at the new two-year contract – with the possibility of a further year’s extension – being offered to him by United and told them that his future lies away from Old Trafford and there’s nothing they can do to persuade him otherwise, says the Sun.
West Brom, meanwhile, have added themselves to the list of clubs chasing a loan deal for Liverpool’s Danny Ings, but are labouring under tough spending constraints that will limit their January business to a loan signing on wages of no more than £50,000 a week, unless of course they sell Evans. This hasn’t stopped them also being linked with a permanent move for Everton’s Oumar Niasse, who is also “being tracked by Crystal Palace and Brighton”. In other striker news, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on the move again after failing to cut much mustard at Leicester, though “a well-placed source” told the Sun that since no other club will match the £115,000-a-week, five-year contract he secured at the King Power Stadium, the Foxes “might have to let him go for a lot cheaper than they paid for him”.
Finally, Tottenham’s Georges-Kévin N’Koudou is about to move to Burnley on loan, Norwich have rebuffed Huddersfield’s optimistic £5m offer for Alex Pritchard, and Swansea want Fulham full-back Ryan Fredericks.