Arsenal star forward Alexis Sanchez's move to Manchester City was thought to be a foregone conclusion.
That was until Manchester United gatecrashed the affair with an offer of their own. More recent reports have also linked Chelsea with the Chilean, who should depart the Emirates this month after refusing to extend his deal.
City were always seen as frontrunners in the chase, and came close to signing the player in the summer. Yet with the player now on the verge of quitting the London side, Pep Guardiola and City have informed the player's camp that they are no longer interested in a deal.
Indeed puzzling, but the folks at Goal have come to understand that the change of heart was brought about by the actions of Sanchez's agent
Didn't realise there were so many negatives to signing Alexis Sanchez until Man United were interested. Funny that.— Adam McKola (@AdamMcKola) January 15, 2018
City weren't concerned about the financial aspect of the deal, given the player's quality, despite his age and the fact that he would be available for free in the summer.
A deal is said to have been agreed between City, Sanchez and his agent, several weeks ago. The only thing left to do was to agree a fee with Arsenal. However, when United decided to join the party,
If Alexis Sanchez moves to Man United, they’ll be spending £58m a year on wages for just 4 players - Sanchez + Pogba + Lukaku + Zlatan— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 15, 2018
Felicevich was keen to negotiate new terms with the Etihad outfit, as he expected them to try topping the Red Devils' offer. But he was promptly informed that there would be no further contact over Sanchez - not due to the money involved, but because he had gone back on his word.
Guardiola backed the club's stance, albeit Sanchez being his chief target since the summer. The Spanish manager is said to have quickly washed his hands as soon as he learned that the player who claimed to only want to play for City, last year, was flattered by interest from his Old Trafford rivals.
As reports would have it, United and Chelsea are now set to battle over the 29-year-old, and where he ends up is anyone's guess. But if the Blues have indeed joined the race, then Antonio Conte doesn't seem to be in the know.
Asked if Chelsea are trying to sign the Arsenal man, in his press conference on Tuesday, the Italian said that he did not think so.
Asked if the club are trying to sign Alexis Sanchez, Conte says: 'I don't think so.'— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 16, 2018
And to be fair, the player's wage demands just don't seem like something the Blues would be willing to pay.
There should be an end to this saga pretty soon. But should Sanchez end up at United, Arsenal fans simply won't forgive Arsene Wenger.