Arsene Wenger has targeted £45million-rated Brazilian star Malcom to replace Alexis Sanchez .
Manchester City have held discussions with Arsenal over signing Sanchez this month, but have been told the Gunners want a replacement before they will sanction any move.
Boss Wenger has Bordeaux forward Malcom on his radar and Arsenal have held talks with the French club about signing the 20-year-old this month, amid rival interest from Tottenham and Manchester United.
They know there would be a fierce backlash from their fans if they sold Sanchez without getting a stellar signing themselves and have drawn up a short-list.
They are still keen on Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, but Liverpool are now favourites to get the France midfielder after cashing in on £142m Philippe Coutinho.
Chelsea are also interested.
The Gunners also like Argentinean giants Boca Juniors’ forward Cristian Pavon, 21, and are watching developments with him closely.
The fee there is likely to be around £30m.
Arsenal want £30m for Sanchez, but City only want to pay £20m for a man is set to be available for nothing in a few months once his contract expires.
There is a growing acceptance at the Emirates that Sanchez will be sold, with City keen to get a deal done after losing Gabriel Jesus to injury.
There’s the added bonus that the Chile international is free to play for them in the Champions League’s knockout phase when that begins next month, as Wenger’s men missed out on Europe’s No1 club competition this season.
City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne said Sanchez would be a great addition to their star-studded attack — and may have inadvertently confirmed the deal is happening.
“He’s a very good player,” said De Bruyne. “When he comes, he will add something to the team.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have done a £12m deal with Valencia for French midfielder Francis Coquelin, who has been a Gunner for almost 10 years since joining at age 16.