Manchester City have opened talks with Arsenal over Alexis Sanchez, and are willing to pay £20 million for the Chilean forward this month.
The 29-year-old is out of contract in the summer and is free to discuss contract terms with clubs in Europe, but City remain favourites for his signature.
Pep Guardiola’s side were keen to bring Sanchez to Manchester in the summer, but a £60 million deal collapsed when Arsenal failed to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a replacement.
City are enjoying a stellar season, with the club into the knock-out stages of the Champions League and currently lead the Premier League by 15 points.
But the medial collateral injury suffered by Gabriel Jesus at Crystal Palace means Guardiola is without back-up for Sergio Aguero for up to two months, which could place greater emphasis on signing Sanchez ahead of a busy schedule.
Kevin De Bruyne, who scored in City’s 2-1 win over Bristol City in the League Cup semi-final, appeared to hint that the league leaders are close to agreeing a deal for Sanchez.
When asked about the speculation linking the Gunners star to the Etihad Stadium De Bruyne praised the Chilean.
“A very good player. Obviously we will see what happens in this transfer period,” he said after the match.
“If a good player comes to us that is better, if he doesn’t come we do it with the team we have.
“Everybody is doing a good job. When he comes he will add something to the team.”
Sanchez is expected to start for Arsenal in their semi-final first leg against Chelsea on Wednesday evening.