ARSENAL were last night edging closer to completing the signing of versatile Chile forward Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for a fee believed to be around £30m.
Sanchez, who starred for his country at the current World Cup, has been trailed by the Gunners, Liverpool and Juventus since Barca made it clear he was surplus to requirements at Camp Nou.
The 25-year-old is thought to have rejected a move to Merseyside, despite both clubs being keen to include him in Barcelona’s purchase of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, while Juventus struggled to match Arsenal’s financial muscle.
A four-year deal for Sanchez could be confirmed this week, when the north London club are also set to announce the signing of France right-back Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle for an initial £8m.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is also in the market for a defensive midfielder, but faces competition from neighbours Tottenham, as well as Napoli and Borussia Dortmund, for Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin.
West Ham, meanwhile, have signed England youth international Diego Poyet – son of Sunderland manager and former Chelsea and Tottenham player Gus – after agreeing compensation with Charlton. The midfielder, 19, was named player of the season by the south Londoners despite only establishing himself in the team after Christmas.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is also targeting further big-money buys, having lodged a £9.5m bid with Dnipro for Ukraine attacker Yevhen Konoplyanka, who almost joined Liverpool in January.
Allardyce has already recruited Argentinian striker Mauro Zarate, Senegal-born utility man Cheikhou Kouyate and Ipswich left-back Aaron Cresswell this summer.
Fulham have reignited debate over parachute payments by signing Scotland forward Ross McCormack from Leeds in a deal worth around £10m, despite the Cottagers’ relegation from the Premier League in May.