Saturday 16 February 2019

How did wantaway trio Sanchez, Coutinho and Mahrez perform during break?

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez played in two Chile defeats during the international break.
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez played in two Chile defeats during the international break.

There were some notable non-movers when the summer transfer window came to a close last week, with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Leicester's Riyad Mahrez among those for whom no deal materialised.

Having each been on international duty with their respective countries, the trio are now returning to clubs they might have hoped not to ahead of the Premier League getting back under way this weekend.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at how the international break has been for Sanchez, Coutinho and Mahrez since the transfer deadline passed.


After looking thoroughly frustrated for most of Arsenal's 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool and then seeing Manchester City's bid to sign him fail, Sanchez played the full duration of Chile's two World Cup qualifiers during the break, both of which ended in defeat.

A 3-0 home loss to Paraguay was followed by a 1-0 reverse in Bolivia - with Sanchez reportedly having had to deal with an ankle problem in the build-up to the latter - and the forward subsequently posted a downbeat message on Instagram, accompanied by a picture of him wearing an Arsenal kit with a Chile flag around his shoulders.

The message said: "You get tired of being criticised with reason or without reason...of saying to yourself 'once more I'll get up' after crying after a defeat...of telling the world and people who are with you that everything is going well. And the worst, that no one ever realises how that makes you feel...I have the number seven of Chile on my back and it is a huge responsibility, so it makes me sad that journalists and bad people criticise without knowing..."

Arsenal host Bournemouth on Saturday.


Coutinho played in a match for the first time this season when he came off the bench to score for Brazil in last week's 2-0 home win over Ecuador, and he added another substitute appearance in a 1-1 draw in Colombia.

Before that, the playmaker, who in early August submitted a transfer request to Liverpool amid bids for him from Barcelona, had sat out the Reds' opening five games of 2017/18, with boss Jurgen Klopp saying he was sidelined by a back injury and illness.

The Merseyside outfit are at Manchester City in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.


Mahrez publicly expressed his desire to leave Leicester at the start of the summer and it appeared it would finally happen after the Algerian Football Federation announced last week that the winger had been allowed to depart the national team camp and return to Europe to "formalise his transfer to his new club".

But no move came about for Mahrez, while Algeria flew to Zambia without him and went on to suffer a 3-1 loss on Saturday. They then faced the same opposition at home three days later, with Mahrez playing the full 90 minutes, and were beaten again, going down 1-0.

Leicester's return to action on Saturday sees them take on Chelsea at the King Power Stadium.

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