Chelsea's 11th-hour swoop for Willian after he had undertaken a Tottenham medical deepened the hostility between the London rivals this week.
The 25-year-old's impending move to Stamford Bridge - he is awaiting work permit clearance - has been widely reported as Chelsea simply out-bidding Spurs at the last minute.
But The Sweeper understands that owner Roman Abramovich flexed his financial muscles only after Willian's representatives "changed the goalposts" of the transfer to White Hart Lane.
Spurs had agreed a £30 million deal with Anzhi Machachkala and personal terms with the player, in addition to medical tests.
However, Willian's camp, including adviser Kia Joorabchian, then asked Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy for a more lucrative salary and, when this was rejected, decided to offer the Brazilian to other clubs.
Chelsea, who have claimed they had been keen anyway on the 25-year-old, reacted to his apparent availability by making a £31.7m bid to Anzhi, which was accepted. The west Londoners also presented Willian's immediate circle with a more attractive salary package than Spurs.
- Wayne Veysey
CITY FANS FIND NEW ETIHAD FOOD HARD TO STOMACH
The start of the Manuel Pellegrini regime isn't the only change to take place at Manchester City this summer, with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's £6 million food revolution at the Etihad Stadium having also been introduced.
The project 'Fabulous Fan Fayre' was brought in by the club to improve the grub at City this season, but fans have baulked at the upmarket prices introduced by the Naked Chef.
Speaking at the launch of the project in July, Oliver said: "For the last 10 years I have been looking at food in different ways to see how it can be disrupted and to try to up the game at schools, stores, airports and at festivals.
"Stadiums have always been the holy grail ... People want pies and burgers and hot dogs. We want to take them apart and we want to make Man City’s stadium food the best in the country."
But you'd imagine City fans would rather see the big money spent in the transfer market, and not in the kitchen.
- Paul Clennam