City on alert as Wenger admits Sanchez may leave in January
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 also ready to lose Sanchez on deadline day of the summer transfer window following City’s £60million 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 standoff 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 also still says that it is possible for both players to stay 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 destina-
tion 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.
Wenger is also considering whether to name Sanchez only as a substitute against Watford tomorrow amid concern over his physical and mental state following Chile’s World Cup exit.
“He is in a very difficult mind,” said Wenger. “Chile just 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.
“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.”
A final decision will be taken about Sanchez after training today, but a place on the bench appears most likely.
Danny Welbeck is available but Shkodran Mustafi is out for between four and six weeks with a torn thigh muscle and Laurent Koscielny will undergo a fitness test on his Achilles tendon.
In talks: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez