Renato Sanches puts contract talks on hold as Arsenal show transfer interest

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Lille midfielder Renato Sanches namechecked Arsenal as one of the clubs interested in signing him, with the Portuguese international looking to take the next step in his career

Renato Sanches is reportedly set to shelve contract talks with Lille in order to push through a move in the January window.

The 24-year-old has seen his career transform since joining the Ligue 1 club in 2019, after enduring a difficult three seasons with Bayern Munich.

Sanches helped Lille overcome the odds to win the French top tier last term, beating out Paris Saint-Germain, making 23 appearances in the title-winning campaign.

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His contract is set to expire at the end of next season, with Lille desperate to retain his services for longer.

But according to Sport Italia, Sanches now feels ready for a new chapter of his career, with Premier League interest including Arsenal.

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Speaking last month, the Portuguese international specifically namechecked the Gunners as one of the clubs that were interested in acquiring his services.

He told L’Équipe : “Who is interested in me? Maybe Milan and Arsenal are interested, but I don’t know. I talked to my agent, I know which clubs are calling and which are not, but now I can’t tell. But I know I’m ready. If it happens, I’ll see what’s best for me.

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“Milan? It’s a great club, a historic club. It’s classy. I like it. I was supposed to go to Barcelona in the summer, then my injury blew everything up. Leave in January? I know I’m ready. If an offer comes in.”

Mikel Arteta could be in the market for a central midfield player, despite Thomas Partey’s premature return from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Despite being one of the favourites to lift the trophy, Ghana were dumped out at the group stage, having failed to win a single game.

But there are still major question marks over Arsenal’s options in the middle of the park, with Albert Sambi Lokonga still improving and Granit Xhaka still proving maddeningly inconsistent.

Arteta confirmed that work is being done behind the scenes to ensure if the right player becomes available they will be ready to pounce.

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“The team are working extremely hard to get the players that we want and we have no news to give you,” the Spaniard said earlier this week.

“We have a plan to try to bring players in and try to get the players we want with the right qualities and improve the squad in the best possible way every single window.”

Sanches will be hoping his next major move works out better than his move to Bayern in 2016, with the player himself admitting it perhaps came too soon.

He added: “When I arrived at Bayern, I was not ready to play in such a club. I was very young.

“And when I got ready, the opportunity to play with this team never came.

“Today I feel ready. I understand football better, I have more experience, I know what to do to play in this kind of club and that changes everything.”

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