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Manchester City are preparing an opening offer for Alexis Sanchez after entering into talks with Arsenal for the wantaway striker.
But Arsenal still want to secure a replacement before allowing Sanchez to leave and are holding out for up to £35 million for the Chilean, which is considerably more than the Premier League leaders have envisaged paying.
Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir figures prominently on Arsenal’s list of potential replacements this year for Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.
City and Arsenal are also facing a head to head battle in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion centre-half Jonny Evans as they bid to bolster their defences.
Both clubs made contact with West Brom over the weekend after failing with bids for the former Manchester United defender last summer and they are expected to hold further talks with the struggling Midlands side over the next 48 to 72 hours.
Arsenal are prepared to offer right back Mathieu Debuchy as part of the package but Evans’s preference is to play under Pep Guardiola at City and stay in the North West, even though he would be open to a move to North London. West Brom are prepared to sell Evans after accepting that the defender, who has 18 months left on his contract, has indicated he does not want to sign a new deal at the Hawthorns.
City – who face Bristol City in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night – were ready to wait until the summer for Sanchez, when he is due to become a free agent, but a worrying knee injury to Gabriel Jesus has forced them to rethink their plans.
Jesus was diagnosed with medial collateral ligament damage and ruled out for around six weeks but told he did not require an operation. Yet he is due to return to Barcelona this week for further assessment by Dr Ramon Cugat after initially being seen by the orthopaedic surgeon at the Quironsalud hospital last week.