There's some interesting stuff going down in the world of Alexis Sanchez which is making it look increasingly likely that the Chilean forward will be staying at Udinese for the upcoming season. Bad news, one might think, but a scenario where rivals for the 22-year-old's signature drop out of the race can only be a good thing for Chelsea, who would then be free to chase him at their leisure. And that seems to be what is happening.
Manchester City are no longer in the hunt, with manager Roberto Mancini confirming that City would make no further offers despite a mutual interest between team and player, saying, "I have spoken to Sanchez. He said he was open to the idea of coming to City but then we have pulled out. After our last offer, we are out of the race to acquire the Chilean player."
With Barcelona known to be Sanchez's favourite destination, one might suspect that this just makes a move there even more likely, but the Catalans' finances aren't really in a position to meet Udinese's £40M valuation on account of not having any money:
Barcelona made a definitive offer for [Alexis Sanchez] and we will not change the parameters indicated. We are waiting for a response from Udinese.
-'Barcelona spokesman'. ESPN Soccernet via EFE.
With Barcelona's bid well below Udinese's asking price (and performance incentives to take it up to the full £40M won't be nearly good enough for the Serie A team, as they shift some of the risk back onto the buying club rather than the sellers), it's difficult to see Sanchez heading to the Camp Nou either. The Cesc Fabregas rumours, incidentally, are strengthening, and if Pep Guardiola does indeed mount a raid on Arsenal for their captain there's almost no way they'd be then able to pick up Sanchez.
This would, in theory, leave Chelsea as the only side being able to realistically make an offer for Sanchez, who is apparently willing to make the move to Stamford Bridge - although he would prefer to go to Barcelona for obvious reasons. That's not to say Sanchez might not just stay at Udinese, but if the Blues really are willing to splash out £40M on the forward, the path to doing so is opening up.
Whether they should or not is a different story, but when you compare him to the likes of Neymar, he's three years older, at a better level right now, has shone in a top European league and doesn't have the maturity of a three-year-old on a sugar bender. That doesn't mean he's worth the money, of course (and the Winner's Curse is a major worry here), but if Chelsea are going to spend it it'd probably be wiser to deploy it on Sanchez than take an even bigger gamble with Neymar.
What do you all think? Should Chelsea go after Sanchez?