Arsenal dug in their heels and the Chilean forward found out while on international duty that he would be staying in North London a little longer.
It obviously had an impact and the 28-year-old only started five of the Gunners’ first 10 Premier League fixtures this term.
His return has improved, highlighted with his three goals in two games, including the crucial goals to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
However, all is not well in the Arsenal changing room and The Guardian report it came to head after the win over Burnley, suggesting all is still not right with Gunners players failing to celebrate the Chile strikers goals mid-week.
With his team-mates sure he won’t re-sign before his contract expires, they believe it would be better if the club let him go in January.
“There is a division in the team,” Thierry Henry noticed when covering the game for Sky Sports. “He [Sánchez] is asking them to come and celebrate. ‘Why are they not coming? Don’t you want to celebrate?’
“I don’t know what the situation is there but usually when your team scores, you don’t look at who scores. If you start to think: ‘Shall I go, shall I not go?’ – there’s something we don’t know exactly what’s happening.
“What I’m trying to say is you’re not here for Alexis Sánchez, you’re here for Arsenal. Arsenal scored, go and celebrate. I noticed it [Sánchez’s gesture]. Sanchez made me notice it. It was like he thought he was alone.”
Over at City, there haven’t been any signs of a hangover after Pep Guardiola failed to land his man. The league leaders have scored 61 goals in 20 games and are on a 19-game winning run.
Despite that, the talk of Sánchez being a City transfer target hasn’t disappeared, with the Manchester Evening News claiming Guardiola is desperate to sign the Chilean.
The Catalan coach will already have one eye on the situation, regardless of whether he will say anything or not, but the prospect of signing one the Premier League’s best players on a cut-price deal may be too good to pass up.
Arsenal’s issue is that the Chilean’s current deal runs out this summer and his unwillingness to sign a new contract means he will be able to leave on a free come the end of the campaign.
The Gunners therefore could be willing to accept a reduced figure, much less than they would have picked up in the summer.
If Alexis goes on to score 20 goals and fires Arsenal into the top four, it’s a price worth paying, but any signs of indifferent form from their talisman would hand the North London side a financial blow.
With seven league goals and three assists, his recent form has picked up, but fail to match what he used to produce before the transfer speculation began.
This term, per 90 minutes, Sánchez is attempting more shots, converting more on target and completing a higher percentage of his dribble attempts.
Even though Mesut Özil is the chief creator, the 28-year-old is contributing 3.2 key passes, one more than last season.
In almost every category except goals scored and assists, he is providing more of a threat.
For the 2016/17 campaign, Sánchez finished with an xG per 90 of 0.49, just second behind Olivier Giroud, and an xA90 of 0.25. This year, his xG per 90 is still at 0.49, but his xA per 90 has gone up to 0.34.
Despite the lack of goals, it shows that behind the disappointment of not leaving the Gunners, he is still the same player, with the same qualities and is just not enjoying the same conversion in front of goal.
That said, would there be a place in the new, vibrant, devastating City attack for Sánchez, or has Guardiola got too much up front to try and squeeze in another option?
The Chilean wouldn’t play as the central striker, but most likely as the option off the left-wing. He could even dial back to his Barcelona days to attack off the right.
There is no arguing that Sánchez is a wonderfully gifted player and he would add to City’s firepower, whether he would add exceptional quality compared to what they already have is doubtful.
Sané and Sterling have blossomed beautifully under Guardiola and are on the rise. At 28, Sánchez is at the tail end of his peak. To take a January gamble and upset the dynamics working at the Etihad may be a risk too big to take at this stage.