Monday 20 November 2017

Sanchez transfer 'possible' - Wenger

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could still leave the club this season Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could still leave the club this season Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Manchester City are expected to launch a fresh bid for Alexis Sanchez in January after Arsene Wenger admitted for the first time yesterday that he could still sell his star player this season.

Arsenal were ready to lose Sanchez on deadline day of the summer transfer window following City's £60m offer but the timing of their bid and the refusal of Monaco to let Thomas Lemar come in as a replacement meant that the deal fell through.

Contract talks have resumed with Mesut Ozil and, while these have been described by all sides as "positive", there is little progress with Sanchez.

Ozil and Sanchez are both in the final year of their existing deals and, should the stand-off continue, January would be Arsenal's last chance to sell them for a fee.

Wenger stressed that there was no deadline for reaching an agreement but, when asked if he could "cut" his losses in January, he was noticeably less definitive than during the summer.

"Once you are in our situation, you envisage every solution," he said. "It is possible."

Wenger, however, insisted that both players could still stay with Arsenal beyond next summer.

"I always said just because we didn't find agreement, it doesn't mean they will leave. Both players are happy here - I hope the situation can turn around."

City remain the most likely destination for Sanchez and they are likely to have taken encouragement from Wenger's comments, but it is less obvious who might bid for Ozil.

His agent has this week described contract talks as "positive" but the German has played only seven minutes of Arsenal's last six games, which have coincided with five wins in all competitions as well as a draw at Chelsea.

Concern

Of more immeidate concern, Wenger must decide whether to include Sanchez for tomorrow's match against Watford amid concern over his physical and mental state following Chile's World Cup exit.

"He is in a very difficult mind," said Wenger. "Chile have won the Copa America twice and now they don't even go to the World Cup. Sanchez is 29 at the end of the year, so the next World Cup he will be 33. He expected to go.

"To go to the World Cup is the target of every single player who plays football."

Wenger added: "In every generation, you have a player who carries the expectation. In Chile, it's Sanchez.

"Those players have to deal with the lows as well. Remember 1998 when David Beckham has been sent off. He was treated in this country like a guy who has killed somebody."

While some players might be sulking for months, devoid of motivation, after such a setback, Wenger knows that Sanchez is a fighter and fully expects him to knuckle down and produce his best for as long as he still plays for the Gunners.

"I have no doubt that he wants to perform. Sanchez never goes on the football pitch to lose a football game, never. He is a winner type.

"You have always to set targets when you're a football player. When one is gone, you focus on something else and that is what Alexis will do."

A final decision will be taken about Sanchez after training today, but a place on the bench appears most likely.

"Sanchez played against Dani Alves and that was a real battle, believe me. He got some special treatment. It was a very physical game and I will have to assess the situation when he comes back."

Danny Welbeck is fit to return, while Laurent Koscielny will undergo a fitness test on his Achilles tendon, but Shkodran Mustafi is out for between four and six weeks with a torn thigh muscle.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport