Barcelona move to front of race for hotshot Sanchez

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Barcelona are the latest European giant to show an interest in signing Chilean revelation Alexis Sanchez this summer.

Sanchez has been in blistering form so far in 2011 with his ten goals in 11 league games this calendar year helping to fire Udinese directly into the Serie A title race.

Udinese are now just six points off leaders AC Milan after ten wins in 13 games and Ladbrokes offer the best price of 20/1 in the Serie A betting odds that they win the title for the first time in their history.

This form has led to widespread interest in the 22-year-old, with Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan among the clubs to be the earliest to put Sanchez on their shortlist.

However, Barcelona have now entered the race and Sanchez could add some vital depth to their squad in the wide areas.

Despite the strength of their first team, Barcelona are short of recognised options in attack if an injury occurs to Lionel Messi, David Villa or Pedro at present, with Bojan the only real natural replacement.

Alternatively, manager Pep Guardiola has to move central midfielders Andres Iniesta or Ibrahim Afellay into the wide areas or select one of a number of young fringe players, such as Jeffren.

Udinese have already stated that they will not interact with any club over Sanchez until the end of the season and talks would not begin at anything less than €25m.

However, it is believed that Udinese would be expecting a deal closer to €40m if they were to part with Sanchez.

If Sanchez did decide to remain in Serie A, then Chile legend Ivan Zamorano believes that Sanchez would gain the most by moving to Inter Milan.

Inter’s cause may also be helped by the fact that head of technical staff Marco Branca is already on good terms with Udinese’s owners and this may be able to swing a deal in the club’s favour.

A £20 stake on Udinese winning Serie A would return £400. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of free bets totalling up to £60.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.