Antonio Conte has said Alexis Sanchez is a “good investment” as Premier League heavyweights circle the Arsenal forward during the January transfer window.
Conte also revealed his admiration for Sanchez, who is available for a bargain fee this month since his contract with the Gunners expires in the summer.
Speaking at a press conference, Conte addressed the speculation surrounding Sanchez: “I think it’s a good investment because we are talking about a top player and I’m hearing that the amount is around £20 million. If you buy Alexis Sanchez with a normal price maybe 80 or 90 million euros.”
The Chelsea boss also recounted how long he has rated the Chile international: “He’s a great player and he knows very well that in my first season in Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese and then he decided to go to Barcelona.”
Sanchez is at the centre of a transfer tussle between league leaders Manchester City and local rivals Manchester United. City are ready to pull out of the deal and let United have a clear run amid concerns about Arsenal’s £35 million asking price and the £5 million fee demanded by Sanchez’s agent, per the Press Association (h/t the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson).
Conte didn’t directly throw Chelsea’s name into the bidding for Sanchez. Instead, the Italian made it clear the onus in on the clubs who have already declared their interest, per Boswell: “I have great admiration for great players, I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players. If Manchester City want Alexis Sanchez, they buy Alexis Sanchez and they don’t have problem.”
Conte may not be prepared to explicitly talk up a move for Sanchez, but there’s no doubt the South American would make an impact at Stamford Bridge. The 29-year-old offers pace, trickery, vision and goals from both wide areas and through the middle.
His versatility would provide a major boost to an inconsistent Chelsea forward line. Conte has tried different approaches this season, sometimes pairing forward Eden Hazard with central schemer Cesc Fabregas behind striker Alvaro Morata.
At others, Conte has relied on the width provided by wingers Pedro and Willian.
Hazard remains the best player in the Chelsea attack but is regularly linked with Real Madrid, with Radio Montecarlo (h/t Amalia Fra of AS, via Dan Gibbs of the Daily Express) recently reporting the player is determined to join Los Blancos. However, the Belgium international told the Daily Mirror (h/t Metro‘s Louis Sealey) he intends to sign a new contract with the Blues.
Pairing Sanchez with Hazard would surely give Chelsea a forward line surpassing all others in the Premier League. It’s not too late for Conte to join the race for Arsenal’s contract rebel and get another chance to sign one who got away.
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