'Alexis is a fantastic player' - Pep Guardiola may have fired the starting gun on an all-Manchester battle for Alexis Sanchez
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted he would relish the chance to sign Alexis Sanchez this summer, amid renewed speculation that Manchester United will join the race to sign the Chilean star.
Sanchez is stalling on signing a new Arsenal contract, with his manager Arsene Wenger admitting he does not know whether his star man will sign a new deal with the north London club.
While Arsenal will be reluctant to sell Sanchez to a domestic rival, City boss Guardiola has spoken about his admiration for Sanchez on the of his side's FA Cup semi-final against the Gunners at Wembley.
“How do big clubs improve their teams? With better players,” stated the City manager.
“So of course big clubs around the world are going to know his (Sanchez’s) situation.
“When the big, big players go to Barcelona they understand that Lionel Messi is unique.
“But Alexis is just one step below. Alexis is a fantastic player and I’m so happy how he’s playing at Arsenal, especially this year scoring goals.
“The big players with one year contracts – two years, three years - all the clubs around the world in the summertime are going to try to improve, improve.
“Put Kevin de Bruyne with one year left on his contract and see how many teams (are interested).”
Meanwhile, there is renewed speculation in several UK newspapers that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has made Sanchez one of his top transfer targets this summer, as he looks to add a cutting edge to his forward line.
Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are also reported to be in the mix to sign the 28-year-old midfielder, who has hinted that he would like to stay in London with a club winning trophies.
Those comments led to speculation that he was angling for a move to Chelsea, but it now appears that Manchester's big two clubs could emerge as the leading contenders for his signature.