City on alert as Wenger ad­mits Sanchez may leave in Jan­uary

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By 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 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

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