On Sunday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger promised the saga would be brought to an end in 48 hours. However, regardless of how close United's deal actually is or the validity of Chelsea's interest, it is understood that City - who were apparently Sanchez's preferred destination - were unwilling to compete with the offers on the table from rival clubs and were not prepared to make the former Barcelona man, who played under Guardiola at Camp Nou, the highest paid player in their table topping squad.
Guardiola and Al Mubarak as well as other key members of the club hierarchy, according to Sky, agreed that the combination of excessive wages and signing on fee did not represent value for money for player who would have been available on a free transfer in the summer.
Man City pull out of race to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, based on current numbers demanded by #AFC + AS. #MCFC believe they were 1st choice but that Man U offering package higher than City would’ve paid in £60m deal last summer. TWIST City think Chelsea #CFC rivalling #MUFC pic.twitter.com/m8jPvSEqTt— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) January 15, 2018
Man Utd by contrast are willing to hand Sanchez a contract of up to £400k-a-week including bonuses in order to secure the signing ahead of their rivals, while several reports suggest Henrikh Mkhitaryan - who was left out of the Red Devils' squad that took on Stoke on Monday night - will be used in a part exchange deal.
Meanwhile the Times also claim that United are ready to hand Sanchez the club's iconic number seven shirt, previously worn by the likes of George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While Chelsea may now provide United stiff competition until the end, it seems City will not be persuaded back into the pursuit of one of the transfer window's most-coveted stars.