Arsenal ‘want Renato Sanches transfer in January’ to cover AFCON-bound Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny

ARSENAL want to sign Renato Sanches in a cut-price transfer in January, according to reports.

The Lille star, 24, is out of contract in France at the end of the season.

And with Mikel Arteta set to lose Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to the Africa Cup of Nations, Sanches could be brought in early in the New Year.

According to Le10 Sport, the Ligue 1 champions are open to selling the asset when the transfer market reopens to avoid letting him go for free in the summer.

And it is understood the Gunners have already made their intentions clear to Sanches' representatives and the club.

Despite being 'very interested' in the Portugal international, Arsenal are yet to make a formal offer.

However, they may face competition from AC Milan and Barcelona for the midfielder – while Liverpool and Wolves have also been linked.

Barca made an approach last summer and reportedly agreed personal terms – but could not sort a fee with Lille.

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Sanches burst on to the scene at Benfica and won the 2016 Golden Boy in the same year he joined Bayern Munich.

But a flop loan to Swansea in 2017-18 saw his career stagnate before rediscovering his best form for Lille since arriving in 2019, helping them win the title last season.

Sanches has 32 Portugal caps with three goals and was part of the squad that won Euro 2016 where he was crowned Young Player of the Tournament and brokea host of national records.

Arteta currently has Partey, Elneny, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as his midfield options, while Granit Xhaka could return from a knee injury in January.

But Ghana ace Partey and Egpyt's Elneny are both expected to be part of their national team squads for the upcoming Afcon in Cameroon.

The tournament kicks off on January 9, with the final on February 6.

Both players will have ambitions of going all the way and lifting the trophy.

Fellow Arsenal team-mates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are also set to be unavailable for Arsenal as they represent Gabon and Ivory Coast respectively.

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