Alexis Sanchez is said to be on the brink of becoming British football's highest paid player with his move to Manchester United.
Sanchez set to become highest paid player in British football
Alexis Sanchez is said to become the highest paid player in the history of British football as it was reported that the Chile international would earn £505,000 a week after switching allegiances to Manchester United. According to The Sun, the 29-year-old has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal to join United, and will be registered at Old Trafford by midday on Thursday – so long as Arsenal find a replacement.
With the last sighting of Sanchez at a hairdressers in North London instead of training, it does seem his time at the Emirates looks set to end. But who will he be replaced by and wouldn’t he rather wait it out until the end of the season for a place at City? As for Sanchez’s salary, what was it Mourinho was saying the other day about not believing in the January transfer market?
Novak Djokovic needed four sets to advance to the third round of the Australian Open as the sizzling Melbourne sun took its toll on opponent Gael Monfils.
A gruelling encounter ultimately went 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-3 Djokovic's way, with the Serbian keeping his cool to continue his comeback charge from an elbow injury.
Monfils had taken the first set, but with temperatures edging towards 40-degrees Celsius at Melbourne Park, the Frenchman soon faded, calling for the trainer due to heat exhaustion as Djokovic levelled the tie.
The six-time Australian Open champion capitalised by taking the third set in just 31 minutes, but Monfils somehow found some extra reserves to make a contest of the fourth set.
It was a response which appeared to bewilder Djokovic, who had to bravely fight off four break points in the fifth game before breaking himself in the eighth.
Four match points came and went as Djokovic looked to serve it out, but it proved to be fifth-time lucky for the 30-year-old, who barely had the energy to celebrate before the pair embraced.
The world's most expensive player was whistled by his own fans after he showed a lack of generosity to his Uruguayan team-mate
Neymar was not angry despite being whistled by Paris Saint-Germain supporters during an 8-0 thrashing of Dijon, in which the Brazilian was in inspired form, according to club captain Thiago Silva.
The world's most expensive player scored four goals as the Ligue 1 leaders ran riot on Wednesday, extending their advantage from nearest rivals Lyon to 11 points ahead of Sunday's game between the two sides.
Neymar also provided a pair of assists in a glittering individual performance, but he was involved in another on-pitch disagreement with strike partner Edinson Cavani.
The Uruguayan headed in PSG's third goal of the night to draw level with the club's record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 156 in all competitions.
But when Cavani won a late penalty with the score at 7-0 and Neymar having already wrapped up his hat-trick, the former Barcelona man denied his colleague the chance to surpass Ibrahimovic.
The Parc des Princes crowd chanted for Cavani to take the kick and Neymar was whistled after he stepped up to convert from 12 yards, but Silva insisted the Brazilian was unaffected by the reaction to his decision to take the penalty.
"No, I do not think he was angry when he left," Silva told Canal+.
"There was some of the supporters against him, but the most important thing is the final score and the win.
"And for Edi, the record will come. He scores all the time, there are still a lot of games to play this year, he will beat all records."
Unfortunately for PSG coach Unai Emery, his side's thrilling demolition of Dijon was partly overshadowed by Neymar's lack of generosity by denying Cavani his share of the spotlight, but the former Sevilla coach insists all is well in camp.
"Cavani, he is our goalscorer, he improved a lot, his individual statistics help the team and the team help him get his goals," Emery said.
"Neymar hit the penalty kick and he [Cavani] will have other chances to score more goals. The team is better with Neymar. All wins and stats are made to benefit the whole team."
Despite Neymar hogging the headlines again, Emery felt PSG's performance was their best of the season so far, with the 8-0 scoreline their most emphatic victory of the Spaniard's 18-month reign.
"We talk a lot about maintaining the level and the requirement to build a team with a strong mentality," Emery said.
"With each match, we will seek the best performance to grow and improve when the most important matches will arrive.
"It is possible that it is the best game of PSG in the league this season, the team played together the whole game, the whole team shone."
The Chilean's frustrations have boiled over into arguments with team-mates and his imminent exit has been a long time coming
On July 10, 2014, Arsenal announced the signing of 25-year-old Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for a fee in the region of £35 million.
In the same transfer window, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas joined Chelsea for a combined £52m, while Luke Shaw became the most expensive teenager in the world when Manchester United paid Southampton £27m for his services.
If Arsenal wanted value for money with their new Chilean maestro, they certainly got it. He played 166 games, scored 80 goals and racked up 46 assists. With those numbers, Alexis should be leaving Arsenal as a club legend, but the feeling is that his time in north London was unfulfilled.
"I'm so happy to be joining a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players and huge support around the world," he said when he arrived four years ago. "I'm looking forward to playing in the Premier League and Champions League."
He won neither, though. While Sanchez lifted two FA Cups with the Gunners, his aim was to challenge for the biggest trophies and that is something Arsene Wenger’s side have failed to do over the past four years, culminating in last season’s dismal fifth-placed finish in the Premier League and subsequent demotion to the Europa League.
Sanchez has wanted to leave Arsenal since the back end of last season and that manifested itself on the pitch with regular acts of frustration towards his team-mates.
The forward was dropped for a game against Liverpool in March after storming out of an Arsenal training session in which he had been involved in a slanging match with some of his colleagues.
Laurent Koscielny, who is also Arsenal's vice-captain, was one of several players who called Sanchez out on his on-field shows of frustration, and it’s understood the two argued again after games against Burnley and Southampton this season.
The 3-3 draw against Bournemouth last January saw Sanchez throw his gloves on to the floor and storm off down the tunnel, while Arsenal’s passionate away supporters have previously criticised him for failing to show his appreciation for the fans.
Indeed, Goal published a video of Mesut Ozil after last season’s defeat against Chelsea which showed the German urging Sanchez and Nacho Monreal to salute the supporters while they were heading towards the tunnel at Stamford Bridge.
"Legend", proclaimed Sanchez when he was asked to describe Wenger in one word a season after joining the Gunners. The mutual respect between the two was partly behind Sanchez’s decision to join Arsenal and the Frenchman’s philosophy of backing his players has certainly never wavered when it comes to his talismanic frontman.
It emerged that over Christmas that a relaxed Sanchez travelled back to Chile, where he spent Christmas Day with his family - which meant a 14-hour flight just days before Arsenal's match against Crystal Palace.
Wenger denied that his player had visited his homeland over the festive period, but sources close to Sanchez have shown Goal photos of the trip which prove otherwise, confirming that his recent sighting in Paris was due to his connecting flight back to London being from the French capital.
Wenger's loyalty to his player was perhaps admirable but the unscheduled trip was a further sign of petulance from a player who knew his Arsenal exit was just weeks away.Indeed, his departure has long been inevitable. He even signed a contract with Manchester City on deadline day last summer but the document never made its way to the Football Association (FA) because of Arsenal’s failure to land Thomas Lemar as a replacement.
Sanchez has cut an isolated figure throughout his four years at the club. The Chilean lives with his close friend – an Italian-Argentine former futsal player – and prefers the company of his two golden Labradors Atom and Humber over meals out with his Arsenal team-mates.
His girlfriend, Chilean actress Mayte Rodriguez, travels around the world and is mostly based in South America, which only adds to the isolation – something which Sanchez has no problem with. It’s this independence and determination to be the best which makes him the player he is today.
From the rocky streets of Tocopilla to becoming one of the highest-paid players in world football, Sanchez has endeared himself to Arsenal fans over the past few years with not only his strike-rate but his work-rate, paying back his £35m transfer fee in goals and graft.
Furthermore, while he will now strengthen a Premier League rival at Manchester United, there is a feeling that Wenger and the club are relieved to see the back of a player whose temperament and behaviour has long suggested that he no longer wanted to wear the badge he kissed as recently as pre-season .
The break-up will hurt Arsenal more than it hurts Alexis but that is precisely why they are both now better off without one another.
With seven goals and two assists in his last nine Premier League outings, the 25-year-old England international is one of England's in-form players
The Uruguayan showed Barcelona's big rivals what they are missing as he struck twice on Sunday in a superb comeback win for the Catalans at Anoeta
It's official: Luis Suarez is back on song.The former Liverpool striker struggled for form and fitness earlier on in the season, but his double against Real Sociedad on Sunday showed he is again among the world's most-feared forwards. And Barcelona are all the better off because of it.
The Blaugrana broke their Anoeta hoodoo and it was in large part thanks to the Uruguayan. Barca had failed to win in La Liga away to the San Sebastian side since 2007 and again found life difficult this time as they went 2-0 down to the Basques in the first half.
But Paulinho pulled one back before the break and Suarez scored twice in the second half to turn the game on its head - the first with a wonderful curled lob and the second a more opportune finish after a mistake by goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
That was an 11th goal in as many matches for Suarez and an eighth in his last six appearances, having netted in all of those games. And it is now 14 goals in 25 fixtures for the Uruguayan in 2017-18 - much more like his usual ratio.
He has taken time to get back to his best after picking up an injury in the opening game of the season against Betis and rushing back to help his country in the World Cup qualifiers.
In the meantime, Suarez has also had to adjust to a new system with coach Ernesto Valverde preferring 4-4-2, while he was also the player most affected by the summer sale of Neymar and the subsequent injury to Ousmane Dembele.
Strikers thrive on confidence too and there were times when the 30-year-old was reduced to a pale shadow of his brilliant best version. With his fitness improved, however, and the goals flying in once more, he now looks like the world's finest again.His return to form is timely as Barca approach the business end of the season in the hunt for three trophies. The Blaugrana are among the favourites in the Champions League, while they face Espanyol in the last eight of the Copa del Rey and are in a commanding position in La Liga.Sunday's win means Barca are nine clear of second-placed Atletico at the halfway stage, with Real Madrid 19 adrift (albeit with a game in hand) after Los Blancos lost at home to Villarreal on Saturday.
No Madrid player has netted more than four in the Primera Division this season and Suarez showed Barca's rivals the power of an on-form forward on Sunday (along with Lionel Messi, who rounded off a memorable win with a stunning free-kick).
Goals win games and that is why clubs pay such big money for players like Suarez. On this form, there is no better striker in the world and should he continue in the same vein, the sky is the limit for Barca this season. Madrid will be looking on with envy.
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Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 4 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 9', Firmino 59', Sadio Mané 61', Salah 68') Manchester City 3 (Sané 40', Silva 84', Gündogan 90+1')