By Carlo Garganese
Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook was present at Udinese's 2-1 victory at home to Lazio in Serie A this afternoon to watch in-demand forward Alexis Sanchez, Goal.com can reveal.
The Eastlands executive witnessed the match at the Stadio Friuli in Udine together with City's European Scout Barry Hunter and Football Administrator Officer Brian Marwood.
Sanchez has developed into one of Europe’s most explosive talents over the past few years and caught the world’s attention last summer with a series of electric displays for his country at the 2010 World Cup.
Manchester United and Inter have been long-term admirers of the 22-year-old - with the soon-to-be-dethroned European champions seeing a big offer rejected in January - but numerous other European giants have been linked with the speedy frontman including Barcelona, Juventus, Chelsea and Man City.
Although Hunter and Marwood have scouted Sanchez before, this is the first known sighting of Cook at an Udinese game featuring the 22-year-old. The chief executive's presence will undoubtedly increase speculation that the nouveau-riche English outfit are preparing a big bid for the attacker.
Earlier this week an Udinese source told Goal.com that the club would not consider selling their star man for anything less than €30 million, and added that should Udinese qualify for next season's Champions League then Sanchez would not be leaving the club.
Udinese's victory sees them move above Lazio into the fourth Champions League spot with just two Serie A games remaining.