Former Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini has risked infuriating Arsenal by offering fellow Chilean Alexis Sanchez a lucrative move to the Chinese club he now manages.
Sanchez, who along with German World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has been in protracted discussions with Arsenal over a new contract, could reportedly earn as much as £500,000 ($620,000, 595,000 euros) a week at Hebei China Fortune.
Argentine star Ezequiel Lavezzi is on just under that at the ambitious Chinese club.
“If Alexis wants to come, we have a club for him right now,” Pellegrini, who also has former Arsenal winger Gervinho at the club, told The Sun newspaper.
“He can come to join us in China immediately.”
The forward Sanchez, Arsenal’s outstanding player this season, is reported to be unhappy with Arsenal’s financial offer and also wants assurances about manager Arsene Wenger’s future.
“Step by step Alexis has led a career with a lot of intelligence,” said the 63-year-old Pellegrini, who guided Manchester City to the 2014 Premier League title but was told midway through last term he would be replaced by Pep Guardiola.
“He started in South America always playing for big clubs. After that he played in Italy, Spain (for Barcelona) and now in the Premier League, which is the most powerful in the world.
“Alexis has always done things the right way. Chinese football is growing every day and the interest in going there is increasing all the time.”
Sanchez, 27, is the third high-profile South American to be linked with a big-money move to China inside a week.
Chelsea’s out-of-favour Brazilian midfielder Oscar has been linked with a £60m move to Shanghai SIPG and veteran Argentine striker Carlos Tevez is reported to be in talks with Shanghai Shenhua.