Manchester City are set to perform a dramatic U-turn over Alexis Sanchez with a £25million bid that will force them to put the brakes on their efforts to land Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez.
City boss Pep Guardiola saw City’s quest for the Quadruple gather more momentum yesterday with a 4-1 FA Cup victory over Burnley at the Etihad.
And that is set spark to an opening gambit for Arsenal for Chilean contract rebel Sanchez as City look to bolster an attack that has been weakened by a knee injury to striker Gabriel Jesus.
However, a successful move for the 29-year-old would see them ditch their plan to trigger the £28.5million buy-out clause in Martinez’s contract at Sociedad due to Champions League regulations.
Both Sanchez and Martinez have played in the Europa League this season.
And while clubs through to the last 16 of the Champions League are allowed to make three changes to the 25-man squads submitted to UEFA in September – they can only add one player who has appeared in the Europa League.
Guardiola has decided that his need to bring in a forward is more pressing following the news that Jesus will be sidelined for up to two months with ligament damage.
The Premier League leaders will now revisit their attempt to sign Sanchez as they strengthen their hand for an unprecedented tilt at the title, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed in October that the Blues were ready to wait until the summer to recruit the former Barcelona star for free after Arsenal pulled out of a £60million deadline day deal in the summer because they could not bring in a replacement.
Guardiola’s preference was to recruit a new centre-back to bolster a defence hit by injuries to Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy in the first months of the campaign.
A summer bid to land West Brom’s Jonny Evans was ditched when City failed to offload Eliaquim Mangala.
And with the Baggies still demanding £30million for the Irishman, a move for 26-year-old Spanish international Martinez was regarded as better value.
But that plan hinged on both Jesus and injury-prone Sergio Aguero staying healthy.
And when the Brazilian limped off in tears at Crystal Palace last weekend, Guardiola’s wish-list was rearranged.
City will now look to Arsenal to leave Sanchez out of Sunday’s FA Cup clash at Nottingham Forest.