Manchester City were frustrated in their efforts to sign long-term target Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal pulled the plug late in the day after failing to secure a deal themselves for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar.
City had offered £55million plus £5m in add ons, a £10m improvement on their original bid, and Press Association Sport understands Arsenal were prepared to accept it providing they could find a replacement in time.
They reportedly agreed a £92m fee for Lemar, for whom Monaco had already turned down two bids from Liverpool, but with the midfielder playing for France in a World Cup qualifier against Holland on Thursday night, it soon became apparent there was no time to complete the formalities, especially with the player favouring a move to Anfield.
That left Arsenal with no option but to back out of the agreement with City, who had been tracking Sanchez all summer as the player entered the final year of his contract at the Emirates despite Gunners boss Arsene Wenger consistently maintaining the player would not be sold.
It made it a disappointing deadline day for Pep Guardiola’s side with their other target West Brom defender Jonny Evans remaining at The Hawthorns.
City failed with two previous bids, the most recent a reported £18million, for the former Manchester United defender but with the Baggies holding out for £30m – and Evans on international duty with Northern Ireland in San Marino – that deal also fell by the wayside.
It left Guardiola without the reinforcements he wanted, particularly in defence where he was prepared to allow Eliaquim Mangala to leave for Crystal Palace in a £20m move before the Eagles agreed a deal for long-term target Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool.
Players not moving turned out to be the biggest theme of the day with Virgil van Dijk staying at Southampton.
The Dutch defender, a target for Liverpool who has been angling for a move for much of the summer, is going nowhere after Saints held firm on their stance that he was not for sale.
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