Star refuses to fly to Manchester as Barca close in on deal

Suspicions arose when Inter Milan sporting director, Marco Branca, suggested his club had missed out on Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona.

Branca was talking about Inter’s decision not to sign Carlos Tevez and how the transfer market is unrealistic after his side were priced out of deals.

“Take [Udinese winger] Alexis Sanchez, a player we liked,” said Branca. “Manchester City raised their bid for him to 35m euros [£31.2m] plus a bonus, which ruled us out of the race.

“In the end, the player preferred to go to Barcelona and they got him for 28m [£25m] and a 10m [£8.9m] bonus. Not many clubs can afford that.”

Barcelona are yet to announce a deal has been done for the Udinese attacker and after Jeffren refused to be part of an exchange deal, hopes were raised in Manchester that a deal could still be done with Udinese.

But Sanchez refused to board a plane to Manchester this morning to talk to the Manchester City board after their offer of £35m plus £4m in bonuses was accepted by Udinese, and the striker is holding out for Barcelona.

Inter’s close links with Udinese would suggest that Branca knows more than he should about the Sanchez deal, but while he may have been a bit forward with his comments, it seems the sporting director is spot on.

There is talk in Spain that Barcelona will confirm the signing of Sanchez at some point today and despite qualification for the Champions League last season, Manchester City are still failing to attract the huge names to Eastlands.

Roberto Mancini and the Manchester City board have remained quiet in the transfer window thus far despite both Manchester United and Liverpool being very active, and as the big names start to be snapped up, the shortlist is shrinking.

Sergio Aguero remains a potential target but his signing would hinge on whether or not Tevez stays and it may be the Man City board are doing everything in their power to keep Tevez, rather than looking at possible alternatives.