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Alexis Sanchez and Raheem Sterling swap: Do Arsenal take the deal?

It's the story that has given the final days of the transfer window an adrenaline shot: Manchester City are said to be ready to offer money and Raheem Sterling in order to land Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger is in a difficult situation with Sanchez, who could go for free next summer if he doesn't sign a new deal. 

Should Arsenal cash in? Club bloggers Andrew Mangan and James McNicholas have their say:

Would Sterling be a worthwhile signing for Arsenal?

Andrew Mangan: When you consider he's only 22 and a player of some potential, he would be a useful signing on his own merits. It's whether or not that signing is part of a swap deal for Sanchez that it becomes a bit trickier.

He's clearly a very talented player, but Arsenal have lots of those who are finding it difficult to play at their best. Sterling could just as easily be an addition to that list.

James McNicholas: A few years ago, Sterling was exactly the sort of talent Wenger could turn into a superstar. However, when it comes to working with young players, he has lost his magic touch. It's been some time since he developed a promising youngster into a world-class player.

Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain haven't particularly kicked on under Wenger's eye, and Arsenal are hardly a stable environment for a young player to hone his craft in.

Nevertheless, Sterling's ceiling is very high. Arsenal were reportedly interested in taking him from Liverpool back in 2015, and if he were to become available, they'd surely have to thrust themselves into the mix.

A swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Raheem Sterling has added intrigue to the final days of the transfer window.

How important is it for Sanchez to remain at Arsenal in the final days of the window?

AM: It depends on what Arsenal as a football club stand for any more. All summer long they've insisted Sanchez would stay, so to sell him now after all that would leave them looking foolish.

From a football point of view, he's their best and most effective player, so if they are in any way serious about achieving anything this season, they have to keep him.

JM: Until the 4-0 humiliation at Liverpool, it seemed essential that he stayed. Sanchez was Arsenal's best hope of mounting a credible challenge for silverware, but the manner of that defeat has brought home the futility of that hope. The mood among the fans is changing, and lots of supporters simply want to see the unsettled players sold.

While understandable, that's a bit reactionary. Arsenal must be careful not to throw away their season after just three games.

What transfer business would you like to see conducted?

AM: Arsenal's issues go far beyond anything that the transfer market can fix, but if additions are to be made, they have to be to the spine of the team. They need to add both quality and physical presence at centre-half and in central midfield, and also be ruthless in moving some players on -- although that seems beyond them this summer.

Having a discussion about how much transfer business they need to do just days before the window closes is illustrative of the shambolic way the club is being run -- and what a mess they've made of this summer.

Alexis Sanchez's contract expires next summer, when he would be available for free.

JM: I'm glad to see Oxlade-Chamberlain being sold -- there's no sense in allowing a utility player to leave for free when you could recoup £40 milllion for him. I'd also dispense with Jack Wilshere -- another "nearly man" who did not show much commitment to the club when he insisted on a loan move to Bournemouth last term.

I'd reinvest the money in another central midfield player, such as Steven N'Zonzi of Sevilla, and a commanding centre-half.

Cash plus Sterling for Alexis Sanchez: Do you take the deal?

AM: If you're willing to write off the season ahead and build for the future, you do it. You get a 22-year-old player for someone who will be 29 in December, and you add some money to the coffers. Just how much good that money does you when you're either unwilling or unable to spend it is the big issue, though.

The reservation about selling a top player to a rival club is one that exercises fans for obvious reasons, but perhaps it's necessary to be more realistic about where Arsenal are. They don't look like a team that will rival Manchester City for the title, so that objection becomes redundant.

Whatever Arsenal do, it won't have been part of a plan -- it's just more free-form, make-it-up-as-you-go stuff, and it's time that methodology was changed.

JM: I probably would. Arsenal aren't going to compete for the league this year, so they might as well take some money and a good young player and look to rebuild.

However, if they do it shows what a mess this summer has been. Paris Saint-Germain were keen to take Sanchez a few weeks ago, and Arsenal turned them down-- now they might end up selling their star to a domestic rival.

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