The race to sign Alexis Sanchez took a new turn last night when Barcelona refused to get involved in a bidding war with Manchester City.
The Catalan side’s president Sandro Rosell reiterated last week’s statement that they had budgeted £40m for their dealings this summer, plus any money from selling players.
He added that coach Pep Guardiola may be allowed to raid next year’s budget, but he is reluctant to do so.
With Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas still Barca’s prime target, and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi also in their sights, it means their valuation of Sanchez will not rise above £20m.
That means City, who would stump up £28m plus the £3m-rated Vladimir Weiss, remain favourites with Sanchez’s club Udinese, with United unwilling to match them.
City’s problem remains persuading Sanchez to go to Eastlands, as the Chilean star prefers Barcelona. His agent has also hinted he’d find United an acceptable destination.
That means the next week or two is likely to see a game of brinksmanship, with Barca relying on their pulling power, City using their financial and United hoping to bridge the gap between the two.
City were also on alert after Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o, a City target two years ago, announced he is interested in a move to the Premier League.