Arsenal have rejected an offer from Manchester City for Alexis Sanchez, and are insisting on a fee of over £70m or a player coming in return before they even countenance the Chilean going.
While that remains a hardline stance, sources close to City believe that it also reflects a significant softening of the Emirates hierarchy’s position on a deal, following direct contact with Arsenal.
City made an official approach on Tuesday morning, but Arsenal insisted a player come in return, with the names of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero mentioned.
The Manchester club are unwilling to let either player go, but are “confident” they can get a cash-only purchase done before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
With Sanchez currently on international duty for Chile, City have a legal and medical team on standby in the country as a precaution in case a deal is struck over the next two days, so there would be minimal time wasted in trying to get all of the formalities of any deal done.
Arsenal know that selling their best player to City and, in effect, getting an unwanted one back from Guardiola would not wash with their supporters.
Perhaps, if they could add Lemar as well, it would be more palatable. But they are acutely aware of the difficulties, at this late stage, of the practicalities of getting a replacement or replacements for Sánchez.