City preparing Sanchez bid

Manchester City are preparing an opening offer for Alexis Sanchez after entering into talks with Arsenal for the wantaway striker.

But Arsenal still want to secure a replacement before allowing Sanchez to leave and are holding out for up to £35 million for the Chilean, which is considerably more than the Premier League leaders have envisaged paying.

Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir figures prominently on Arsenal’s list of potential replacements this year for Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.

A France international, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder has scored 30 goals in the past 18 months for Lyon.

City – who face Bristol City in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night - were ready to wait until the summer for Sanchez, when he is due to become a free agent, but a worrying knee injury to Gabriel Jesus has forced them to rethink their plans.

Jesus was diagnosed with medial collateral ligament damage and ruled out for around six weeks but told he did not require an operation. Yet he is due to return to Barcelona this week for further assessment by Dr Ramon Cugat after initially being seen by the orthopaedic surgeon at the Quironsalud hospital last week.

City insist this was always planned but there have been unconfirmed foreign media reports that the injury may be more serious and that the Brazil forward could even have suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament.

No one at City has commented on the claims but the club appear to have concluded that they should move for Sanchez now, with Sergio Aguero their only fit recognised centre-forward.

Sanchez would stand to make more money from a summer transfer when he would be entitled to a huge signing on bonus as a free agent but he is thought to favour a move now.

City were thought to be reluctant to offer much more than £20 million this month and an opening bid could be around that amount but that would fall well short of Arsenal’s valuation. Arsenal would prefer to sell overseas, with Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich linked, but Sanchez’s preference is City.

City’s £60 million bid for Sanchez in August collapsed after Arsenal failed in a deadline day attempt to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a replacement.  Liverpool have since been linked with Lemar and Arsenal are known to have been watching Fekir closely.

Arsenal have also tracked Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang but manager Arsene Wenger ruled out the possibility of a deal last week.

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