Manchester City could complete a deal for Alexis Sanchez before the end of the week as Arsenal have given the go-ahead for the Chilean's move to the Etihad. The Citizens were hoping to get the deal done for a free in the summer but a knee ligament injury to Gabriel Jesus, which will keep him out for up to two months, has forced Pep Guardiola to bring forward the transfer.
The Independent reports that the Gunners are holding out for a fee around £35m ($47m), but City are hoping to sign him for less than that, given that his contract is up at the end of the campaign. Sanchez's influence in the dressing room is reportedly a motivating factor in Arsene Wenger's decision to let him leave in January, with a few players disturbed by Sanchez's general attitude.
The report states that he has become an increasingly unpopular figure among the players and despite his genius on the pitch, that is on Wenger's mind as he tries to get his team out of a slump. Pep Guardiola is set to propel City's quadruple charge after a comfortable 4-1 win over Burnley in the third round of the FA Cup and believes the addition of Sanchez would go a long way in keeping themselves alive in all competitions.
Jesus is expected to be back in contention when the Champions League resumes next month, but Guardiola believes his players are feeling the effects of what has been an exhausting period. City face Basel in Europe's top-tier competition and with Sanchez available for selection, Guardiola is leaving no stone unturned in giving his side the best chance of progressing further in all competitions.
The Guardian reports that City have already made a bid worth £20m ($27m) for the Chilean and are unwilling to match the Gunners' asking price for the player who will be available for a free next summer. The forward has been offered a contract worth £13m a season until 2023 – or £250,000 a week.
With the Gunners five points off a Champions League spot, Wenger has already admitted the club may have to be active during the January window should the right offer come along. Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez has been touted to be a possible replacement for Sanchez should the Chilean bid goodbye.
Mahrez has been in brilliant form throughout the season and would be a massive coup for any team in January. He has scored 10 goals and assisted seven in 30 appearances for Leicester in all competitions this campaign and would be able to bridge the gap left by the departure of Sanchez in an attacking sense.