Arsenal's manic transfer deadline day has taken another incredible twist after the Guardian reported that they have now pulled the plug on Manchester City's attempts to sign Alexis Sanchez.
The Gunners had reportedly accepted a £55m plus add-ons bid for the Chilean star - who is currently on international duty - but were not looking to confirm their sale until they had secured a replacement signing. Julian Draxler was rumoured on Thursday morning, but reports in the afternoon had suggested the club had seen a bid accepted for Monaco's Thomas Lemar.
Lemar has been linked with Liverpool all week, and Arsenal for weeks before, but Liverpool had ended their interest in the player following the confirmation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's arrival at Anfield from the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal's bid for Lemar was said to be worth £90m, but they believe they have now run out of time to agree personal terms with the French international as he is set to feature for France against the Netherlands this evening. An extract from the Guardian's live blog on deadline day reports in full:
"Alexis Sanchez is staying at Arsenal. That is the message from the club and it would now be a shock if there were to be any late turns to this infernal saga (it takes a toll, you know!).
"Manchester City came in earlier today with a second offer for the Chile striker – of £55m, plus £5m in add-ons – but it has come down to Arsenal being able to sign a new attacking player.
"Quite simply, they look to have run out of time on that front. They wanted Monaco’s Thomas Lemar and the French club demanded that they pay 100m euros for him. Which Arsenal indicated they were willing to do. But there appears to be insufficient time for Arsenal to now agree a package with Lemar, particularly as he is in the France squad for this evening’s game against Holland – which kicks off in about three hours.
"Were Arsenal able to get Lemar, they would have been inclined to take the £60m from City for Sanchez. But it is unlikely to happen now."