Chinese Super League team Hebei China Fortune FC have denied recent rumours the club made a huge contract offer of £400,000 per week for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, describing the reports as "fake news."
The Sun's Mike McGrath reported on the offer earlier in December, but a Hebei club official told the Southern Metropolis Daily (h/t Metro) it wasn't true: ''We have never made a bid or any offer for Sanchez. The Sun‘s story is fake news.''
According to the initial report, Sanchez had turned down the offer from China because he's desperate to sign for Manchester City. The Chilean will be out of contract in the summer and will be free to join any club of his choosing.
The links with City have been most frequent, and Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola has been confronted with the speculation time and time again, per Goal's Sam Lee:
The 29-year-old is in the midst of a disappointing season, scoring just four Premier League goals so far. Many fans and pundits believe his poor form is a result of all the transfer chatter, and his mind is already on his next club, rather than Arsenal.
According to Metro, City nearly added Sanchez last summer, making a £60 million offer. Guardiola remains interested, but it's unclear whether he'll make a move in January or wait until summer.
Sanchez moved to Arsenal in 2014 after a spell with Barcelona, and while there have been plenty of individual highlights for the Chilean since, he hasn't added a lot of silverware to his resume.
Even though he has played at two giant clubs, Sanchez hasn't had much club success, per The Sportsman:
A move to City could change that. The Sky Blues have looked like an unstoppable machine all year long and are bursting with young talent up and down the pitch. City are also backed by a strong academy, and prospects like Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz are regarded as stars of the future.
It's almost hard to see where he would fit in on the pitch at this point, given City's wealth of options, but Guardiola has rotated his players throughout the campaign and would likely use Sanchez in a similar fashion.
While he could still move to a different club, a transfer to China doesn't appear likely. The Chinese Super League has built a reputation for adding overseas talent, but the transfer rules have changed this year, with taxes doubling fees.
Speculation went away for a while as a result, and while gossip outlets have started linking more players with Chinese clubs again of late, they have largely forgotten―or ignored―the new regulations.
Hebei has been a popular club for the gossip pages:
The club is coached by former City boss Manuel Pellegrini, and his link to the Premier League ―as well as La Liga, where he also spent time―will likely lead to more speculation. The new regulations make any big-money transfer highly unlikely, however.