Manchester City are still hopeful of signing Alexis Sanchez in January despite the Gunners holding out for £35 million and a reported approach from Manchester United, Goal understands.
The Blues’ plans for Alexis remain unchanged, despite news of rival interest emerging on Thursday, and the club are also believed to be working on at least one other deal.
It was reported on Thursday that United have approached Arsenal regarding Alexis, although senior City sources are themselves unaware if that is merely mischief making - either on the part of agents or their rivals - or a genuine attempt to stage an eleventh hour coup.
Either way, the Blues will continue to negotiate with Arsenal in search of an agreement before the end of the winter transfer window.
The Premier League leaders believe Alexis is determined to work with Pep Guardiola and that he would reject any moves elsewhere.
City were of course in a similar situation with Dani Alves last summer. The Brazilian right-back had agreed personal terms, negotiated his exit from Juventus and even had lunch with Guardiola in Barcelona.
Within days of that meeting, however, he had signed for Paris Saint-Germain, leaving City standing at the altar.
But club sources have stressed that the situation with Alexis is completely different.
Whereas Alves’ head was turned by his new wife’s desire to live in Paris and news of Neymar’s impending move from Barcelona, City believe Alexis, 29, is determined to win trophies, play attacking football and join up with Guardiola once again, following their time together in Barcelona, before the end of his career at the top level.
If that is indeed the case, they will still have to find an agreement with Arsenal, something they have not been able to do during negotiations this week.
Goal revealed on Sunday that the two clubs had opened discussions over a January move , although City have been unwilling to meet Arsenal’s asking price.
The Gunners want to sell the Chilean this month, but want to sign a replacement first.
Goal reported on Wednesday that the Londoners are one of three Premier League clubs interested in Bordeaux youngster Malcom . Sources close to the player have told Goal that a move to Arsenal this month is possible, despite the fact the French club do not want to sell in the winter window.
City regard Arsenal’s progress on a deal for Malcom, or another potential replacement, as the only major obstacle preventing them from signing Alexis as soon as possible. United’s interest, genuine or otherwise, is not said to have caused any panic.
City are also believed to be laying the groundwork for a deal for West Brom defender Jonny Evans, who has emerged as a key target following Virgil van Dijk’s move to Liverpool.
Inigo Martinez is also of interest but only one player who has played in the Europa League can be registered for the knock-out stages of the Champions League, and City would rather include Alexis in their European squad, should he arrive this month.
Sources have told Goal that the club are also exploring the possibility of tying up a move for a third player this month, though he would arrive in the summer.
City are looking at several other centre-backs and deep-lying midfield players to bring in ahead of next season. A goalkeeper may also be required if Claudio Bravo leaves the club.