Arsenal reportedly rejected a £50 million bid for Alexis Sanchez from Manchester City on Tuesday. The Gunners dismissed the offer amid a day of numerous rumours linking their star forward, who is out of contract in 2018, with a move to City this summer.
James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph revealed City's bid has been knocked back:
James Ducker @TelegraphDucker
Arsenal have rejected a £50m bid from City today for Sanchez #mcfc #afc2017-8-29 20:28:53
Arsenal's rejection of City's opening offer doesn't appear to be posturing. Instead, David Ornstein of BBC Sport has reported the Gunners won't do business over a straight cash deal:
David Ornstein @bbcsport_david
Arsenal have rebuffed all approaches from Man City for Sanchez. #AFC stance remains not for sale - unless huge money + player offered #MCFC2017-8-29 20:39:31
However, Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News has since revealed the Citizens will test Arsenal's resolve again, yet without the addition of a player going the other way:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Man City will come back with improved offer for Alexis Sanchez in next 48 hours. Committed to signing him without other players involved2017-8-29 20:50:32
Significantly, many Arsenal players would back the decision to sell Sanchez, according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph:
"Telegraph Sport understands that the majority of the first-team squad have now had enough of Sanchez and the saga regarding his future. They believe he has no desire to be at Arsenal and has been allowed to get away with putting himself ahead of the team for far too long."
Law noted how the "bad feeling between Sanchez and his team-mates has been simmering for some time," with several players supporting manager Arsene Wenger's decision to bench the wide forward for a trip to Liverpool last season.
Arsenal's latest away game at Liverpool ended in a humbling 4-0 defeat on Sunday, and convinced many Sanchez should move on, per Law.
The idea of a player-plus-cash package tempting Arsenal to sell their attacking talisman gained some traction on Wednesday. It started with John Cross of the Daily Mirror reporting City had offered a fee, along with winger Raheem Sterling, in the hopes of getting a deal for Sanchez done quickly.
However, this proposal became complicated when Solhekol tweeted City would demand a fee of their own if Sterling is to be involved:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Man City may be willing to let Raheem Sterling go as part of deal for Alexis Sanchez. But they're asking for Sanchez AND money from Arsenal2017-8-29 16:56:16
Sanchez has even been portrayed as open to the move, with TV13 (h/t Mick Gadd of the Daily Mirror) reporting the 28-year-old Chile international asked coach Juan Antonio Pizzi for permission to leave national team duty for 24 hours to sort out his future.
Encouragingly for Arsenal, those reports have since been rebuffed by Arturo Salah, president of Chile's FA. Speaking to reporters in his homeland (h/t Alex Young of the London Evening Standard), Salah said: "Juan Antonio Pizzi confirmed to me that it is totally false that Alexis Sanchez asked permission to leave."
Still, this hasn't stopped City from ramping up the pressure, with playmaker Kevin De Bruyne publicly endorsing the club's move for Sanchez, per Sky Sports (h/t Marc Williamsof the Daily Star): "He's a very good player. If we can come to us it'll be a good addition. City's doing business perfectly this summer and if they want him they will try everything to get him."
De Bruyne may be keen, but Wenger has more motivation to keep Sanchez in north London beyond the close of the summer transfer window on Thursday.
The Frenchman has seen his team lose two of three Premier League games to start the season, including the thrashing at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield, while Sanchez has struggled to get fit.
If the Chilean is determined to leave for City, Wenger appears equally determined to make sure Arsenal are handsomely compensated, both in terms of a fee and a potential replacement for the side's most important attacker.