Sanchez move to Man City was ‘not very close’, claims Wenger

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports | International - BY JAMES DUT­TON /

Alexis Sanchez’s pro­posed £60m (Sh80bn) dead­line-day move to Manch­ester City was ‘not very close’, ac­cord­ing to Arse­nal boss Arsene Wenger.

The Chilean’s ex­pected trans­fer to the Eti­had Sta­dium fell through on Thurs­day af­ter Arse­nal’s fail­ure to land Thomas Le­mar from Monaco for an eye-wa­ter­ing £92m (Sh12.2bn). And the French­man, who ex­pects Sanchez to re­main ‘100 per cent’ com­mit­ted this sea­son, has ad­mit­ted that the 21-year-old chose to re­main with the Ligue 1 cham­pi­ons in­stead of mak­ing the move to Eng­land.

“It was not very close, it’s very dif­fi­cult for me to speak about that be­cause what I want now is the player to fo­cus on his ca­reer, on his sea­son and Arse­nal,” Wenger said of Sanchez’s failed move to be re­united with Pep Guardi­ola. “I al­ways think first, make sure that my com­mit­ment is at the level that is ex­pected from peo­ple pay­ing me and have con­fi­dence in me. On the player’s side it is ex­actly the same.”

The 67-year-old re­it­er­ated he has ‘no doubt’ that last sea­son’s top-scorer will con­tinue to give his all as he en­ters the fi­nal year of his con­tract. Wenger added that Arse­nal will take a ‘fi­nan­cial sac­ri­fice’ as they face los­ing their star player for free next sum­mer.

“I can not tell you ev­ery­thing that hap­pened be­cause af­ter you de­cide to let a player of that cal­i­bre go, you need to re­place him be­cause no­body would un­der­stand that you let the player go. When you can not do it you keep the player, and you make a fi­nan­cial sac­ri­fice be­cause at the end of the day what you want is to have a team with good po­ten­tial and top qual­ity.”

“So Alexis Sanchez will go, like Me­sut Ozil, in the fi­nal year of his con­tract, or you think that dur­ing the sea­son you find a way to ex­tend the con­tract, or at the end of the sea­son the play­ers go for free.”

The Gun­ners’ late move for young Monaco prospect Le­mar fell through af­ter they in­sisted there was not enough time left to com­plete the deal.

/REUTERS

Arse­nal’s Alexis Sanchez in ac­tion with Liver­pool’s Mo­hamed Salah dur­ing a re­cent match

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