Udinese's Sanchez set to reject City for £32m Barcelona move
In a development destined to send a chill through any clubs seeking to make up the gap on Barcelona, the European Champions are likely to end Manchester City's pursuit of Udinese's Alexis Sanchez this week with a £32m move taking him to the Nou Camp.
The rest of City's transfer plans had been on hold pending their pursuit of the Chilean forward, with chief executive Garry Cook leading negotiations last week. But City's £25m valuation of the 22-year-old has been matched by Barcelona, and the Catalans' willingness to offer a further £7m in performance-related add-ons allied to the striker's preference to join them is expected to seal the deal. A late £31m bid by Chelsea cannot be ruled out, but Gino Pozzo, who manages Udinese's transfer business for his father, club owner Giampaolo, is likely to favour Barcelona over City, Manchester United, Juventus and Internazionale.
Pozzo had initially suggested that City were in the box seat for Sanchez, though that was before Udinese's series of meetings with interested clubs. City are unwilling to pay the usual £2m-£3m premium they are charged this summer and Barcelona are understood to have been the first club to meet the asking price.
Sanchez has been in Santiago, in his native Chile, to be a part of the national side's preparations for next month's Copa America over the weekend, but sources in Chile suggest that the national manager, Claudio Borghi, has sanctioned the player's flight to Barcelona to complete his move, if that is required. Borghi wants Sanchez to join Barcelona, and the view from Santiago is that a curious Twitter post from Fernando Felicevich, Sanchez's agent, indicates the deal is done. "'Everything's gone fine until now', said the pig with the apple in his mouth," he posted.
If Barcelona do conclude the deal this week, it will come as a blow to City, who initially thought they had lost Sanchez to Barcelona several weeks - ago, only for the deal to be scuppered by the unwillingness of the Spanish striker Bojan Krkic to head the other way in part-exchange to cement the deal. But City's willingness to be flexible, offering a player of their own to Udinese as part of a deal, came to nothing. Barcelona maintained contact with Udinese and the player's own desires came into it.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in club shops - yet
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
England vs Japan Women's World Cup match preview: Lionesses get to grips with the publicity – and opponents
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS