Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed that he dropped his interest in Arsenal forward Alexis Sánchez in order to maintain his side's level of stability. The Chilean was hotly-tipped to join the league leaders in the January transfer window, but since the Citizens have cooled their interest a move to their local rivals Manchester United now seems to be certain.
Speaking ahead of his side's Premier League clash against Newcastle United, via Sky Sports, Guardiola was questioned over his club's decision to pull the plug on the much-anticipated deal. The former Barcelona manager said:
"Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because I think it is good for the team and stability of the club In the past, what the club did, was at that price.
"What happened last summer, everything increased amazingly. You have to adapt to that. I think the price in the summertime will be higher than this winter. Sometimes you have to anticipate that. We've spent a lot of money, we can't deny that, but I've never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much.
"Immediately I accept that decision and move forward to find another solution. The stability of the club is the most important thing. I'm not the guy with the mathematics, with the numbers. What I know now is he is still Arsenal's player, but I think he is going to go to United. So, congratulations for both of them."
Sánchez's imminent move to United is set to see Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the other way - with the deal believed to be a straight swap without any transfer fees changing hands.
The long-running transfer saga has certainly taken an unexpected twist - with a switch to Manchester City sitting as the bookies favourite for months in advance of the January window opening.
With the Sánchez deal now dead in the water, City have reportedly turned to West Brom defender Johnny Evans as an option to strengthen their back line unit.
The league leaders have been quoted £23m as a suitable fee for the Northern Ireland international, but Leicester City are likely to prove stiff opposition due to their willingness to offer Evans a regular first-team spot.