BOURNEMOUTH/ LONDON: Arsene Wenger confirmed he expects Alexis Sanchez’s future to be resolved imminently after the Arsenal forward was left out of his side’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.
Sanchez, who becomes free agent at the end of this season, is a target for Manchester United and Manchester City who came close to signing the Chile international on the final day of the last transfer window.
United have emerged as strong contenders because of their willingness to meet Arsenal’s £35 million asking price, with the possibility of Henrikh Mkhitaryan being included as part of any deal.
Wenger insists all options remain open but felt unable to select the player for the visit to the Vitality Stadium although he insisted Sanchez was willing to play.
“Alexis would have played,” said the Arsenal manager. “But it’s a difficult period for him. He’s always been committed until now but he could have moved yesterday, today or not. “It will be decided in the next 48 hours. It was a bit difficult for him because he was on stand-by, a little bit. That’s why I decided not to do it. He did not refuse to play.”
Asked if a deal was imminent, Wenger said: “I don’t master the rhythm of that but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all. That’s why I didn’t take a decision (to select him)…I didn’t want to travel with him and suddenly he goes somewhere.”
Arsenal have been linked with a £35 million move for Bordeaux forward Malcom but Wenger refused to confirm his interest in the Brazilian.
“No. There is nothing concrete there,” said the manager. And when pressed on whether the 20-year-old is a target, he added: “It is better I don’t come out on any specific name.”
United open to January transfers: Mourinho
Jose Mourinho says Manchester United are prepared to do business in the January transfer window should a “fantastic opportunity” arise as speculation intensifies that Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Old Trafford.
Two weeks ago Mourinho thought it was unlikely there would be any arrivals at this month but Sanchez’s apparent availability may have changed all that.
The Arsenal forward, out of contract in the summer, appears to be on his way out of the north London club after being omitted from the Gunners’ squad to face Bournemouth on Sunday.
Previous suitors Manchester City are understood to be reluctant to pay a quoted cost in the region of £35 million to land Sanchez now and that could pave the way for their rivals United to step in and do a deal.
Mourinho has done nothing to rule out United’s interest in Sanchez, calling him a “phenomenal player”, and admitted that his club’s summer plans will be altered should he recruit over the next two weeks.
“Our squad was not (built) to have new players in January,” he said. “We build a squad with this idea, with this philosophy that I share with Mr (Ed) Woodward and the owners. Normally the investment is to be made in the summer. The balance of the squad is made in the summer.”