Manchester City are again eyeing up their top summer transfer target Alexis Sanchez after his club Udinese said no deal has been struck with Barcelona.
The Blues are likely to be the only club to meet the Italian club’s £27m asking price for the 22-year-old Chile winger.
And that means Sanchez will either have to review his decision that he did not want to move to England, or remain at Udinese for another season.
Reports in the Spanish press earlier this week claimed Sanchez had agreed a £60,000-a-week deal to join the European champions and that agreement between the two clubs was a formality.
But Udinese poured cold water on that suggestion, saying they had not been in contact with Barca over the sensational winger, who scored 12 goals to help unfashionable Udinese reach the Champions League this season.
Udinese president Franco Soldati said: “Regarding reports of a possible transfer of Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez to FC Barcelona, I would like to point out that they are not true.
“No agreement has been reached between Udinese and Barcelona for the transfer of this player.
“Moreover, no meeting has been scheduled between the two clubs to discuss such transfer.”
That news prompted Inter Milan to consider tabling a bid for Sanchez.
But City are the only club to have made a concrete move for the player, even though the indications were he preferred to stay in Italy – until Barca showed their interest.
Barca are also weighing up big-money moves for Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi, and may not be able to afford three major outlays.
City coach Attilio Lombardo revealed last week that City had cooled their interest in Sanchez, as it appeared he would remain in Italy, but they have not entirely given up.
They have been actively looking at other options, including Wesley Sneijder, Javier Pastore, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
But the silence emanating from Carlos Tevez over his future means they cannot truly get on with their summer plans.
If Tevez’s camp can engineer his departure – which seems increasingly unlikely – City will have more money to spend and will also revise their entire strategy.