FC Barcelona said Thursday it has reached an agreement with London's Arsenal on the transfer of Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez to the Premier League club.
The Spanish team did not disclose the fee, but several media reports said the Gunners offered around 40 million euros ($54.4 million) for the player.
The 25-year-old Chilean international came to Barcelona from Italy's Udinese prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, making his biggest contribution to the Blaugrana in the most recent La Liga campaign.
The reported fee for Sanchez is the second most that Barcelona has received for a player, topped only by the fee Real Madrid paid for Portuguese former star Luis Figo in 2000.
The Chilean also is the second player to transfer away from Camp Nou this offseason after Cesc Fabregas's departure to Chelsea last month for 33 million euros.
Sanchez scored 47 goals in 141 games for Barcelona in all competitions. As a member of the Spanish club, the Chilean won one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey crown, two Spanish Supercopas, one UEFA Super Cup title and a FIFA Club World Cup championship.
The Chilean's strong performance in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he helped lead the South American club to the knockout stage, also attracted the attention of the top European teams, including Italian club Juventus and several Premier League squads.
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger hailed the signing of Sanchez, saying on the team's Web site that "Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks."
"I'm so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London. I'm looking forward to meeting my new teammates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League. I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy," Sanchez was quoted as saying on the same Web site.
Barça, meanwhile, can use the transfer fee - which some sources say could climb to 42.5 million euros, including incentives - to sign Uruguayan star striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool.
Barcelona's talks with that Premier League club on the transfer of Suarez are reportedly in the advanced stages and a deal could be announced in the coming days.
FIFA banned Suarez for four months from all soccer-related activities after he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the round-robin phase of the World Cup. EFE