Wenger has been keeping close tabs on exciting Chile winger ever since he starred for Udinese and tried to land him three years ago, only to see player join Barca instead.
Arsenal will make a move for unsettled FC Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez when the transfer window finally reopens for business once again at the turn of the year as doubts continue to grow over the long-term fitness of a number of the north London club’s attacking players this season.
Gunners head coach Arsene Wenger has been forced to contend with a series of untimely injuries of late to a number of his forward-thinking players, including the likes of international stars Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski.
And while none of those attackers’ current problems are thought to be long term, with all expected to be back in action by no later than November, the Frenchman is still understood to be concerned that another wave of injuries further down the line similar to this current crop could further expose his lack of options in attack and threaten to derail the club’s brilliant start to the new campaign.
Arsenal currently sit joint top of the Barclays Premier League with city rivals Tottenham Hotspur after the opening five fixtures of the new season, while they also won their opening group-stage contest in the Uefa Champions League against Olympique de Marseille at the Stade Velodrome last week.
However, the latest stomach injury picked up by England international Walcott has now forced Wenger to accelerate his plans to bring Barca’s exciting wide man to the Emirates in January, rather than at the end of this campaign, as had previously been his wish.
Alexis, meanwhile, has struggled to fully convince at Camp Nou since first arriving at the Spanish giants from Serie A outfit Udinese in July 2011 on a five-year deal for a whopping fee of 26 million euros, with the Catalans still to work out what the best position for the Chile international is.
One of the attractions of buying the 24-year-old in the first place was his versatility in attack, with the then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola highlighting the fact that Alexis “can play in all three attacking positions”, and this is a feature of the forward’s game that is believed to have also led Wenger to inquire about his availability.
And while Arsenal were initially told when they first made contact with Barca during the summer transfer window that Alexis was not for sale at any price, the Gunners were also given hope in their efforts to lure the highly rated winger to the Emirates by their Liga counterparts indicating that the player’s current situation in Catalonia was not set in stone, and could very well change come the turn of the year.
That is because recently appointed Barcelona boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino told his new employers when he first took the job that he wanted to use the first half of the season in order to look over the squad at his disposal and see his players in action for himself, before then coming to any definitive judgements on just who he wanted to keep at the club, and who he would be letting go, come January time.
And one of those believed to be currently under Martino’s microscope is Alexis, who has so far started six matches in total for Barcelona in all competitions in this campaign, scoring two goals in the process, both of which arrived in La Liga.
However, with Barca having signed Brazil international Neymar from Santos for £50m earlier this summer, competition for first-team places at Camp Nou this season, especially in the attacking positions, is now even fiercer than ever.
And with this campaign ending with the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, which Chile at present are on course to qualify for, Alexis is said to be concerned that losing his place in the team could end up costing him his dream of playing in the global showpiece on his own continent.
All of which has given Wenger and Co renewed belief that they will be able to persuade the player to move to north London when the transfer window opens again in January, especially after Arsenal flexed their financial muscles to the rest of Europe with the eye-catching club-record £42.4m capture of Germany international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on deadline day at the start of this month.
Meanwhile, the Gunners’ ability to land another marquee signing so soon after swooping for Ozil was further underlined on Tuesday when it was revealed that the club are still sitting on a whopping £120m transfer war chest, even after splashing out on the playmaker.
The club, who released their end-of-year financial report on Monday, recorded a £6.7m pre-tax profit, while they also have cash reserves of £119.7m to spend on big-name recruits come the new year.
And with Alexis’s current contract with the Spanish champions expiring on June 30 2016, the player is not expected to cost Arsenal more than £23m to purchase should his employers decide to part company with the wide man in January after all.