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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Arsene Wenger: Alexis Sanchez could leave Arsenal 'in next 48 hours'

The Chilean has been focus of speculation linking with him moves to both Manchester clubs in the January transfer window.

Arsene Wenger had a frustrating time watching his Arsenal side lose 2-1 to Bournemouth on Sunday and he admitted post-match that Alexis Sanchez could leave the London club within the next 48 hours. Dylan Martinez / Reuters
Arsene Wenger had a frustrating time watching his Arsenal side lose 2-1 to Bournemouth on Sunday and he admitted post-match that Alexis Sanchez could leave the London club within the next 48 hours. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Alexis Sanchez could leave Arsenal “in the next 48 hours”, Arsene Wenger has admitted.

Wenger insisted Sanchez did not refuse to play in Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth, though the Chile striker did not travel to the south coast.

Arsenal manager Wenger believes Sanchez could even yet still stay at the London club, even though he has refused to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring in the summer.

Wenger confirmed he has received assurances from Arsenal’s board that Sanchez will be replaced if he leaves, with Manchester United appearing ready to pip Manchester City to the 29-year-old’s signature.

“Alexis would have played,” said Wenger, after Arsenal leaked two goals in five minutes to slip to defeat.

“Alexis would have played, but it’s a difficult period for him.

“He’s always been committed until now but he could have gone yesterday and he could go in the next 48 hours.

“It was difficult for him because he was on standby. That’s why I decided not to do it. He did not refuse to play.”

Asked if Sanchez will be replaced if he leaves this month, Wenger said: “Yes. Look, if Sanchez goes we need to replace him.

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“If players like Sanchez go we have of course to respond.

“Will he go or not, I don’t know, but at the moment it’s the transfer period.

“In this kind of period we try to use the players completely focused on being at the club.

“I don’t master the rhythm of that but it could happen today, tomorrow, or not at all.

“That’s why I didn’t want to travel with him, and then suddenly he could go.”

Sanchez, who has been at Arsenal since 2014, was close to joining City last summer but the clubs couldn’t agree to a deal on the final day of the window.

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Sanchez used to play under City manager Pep Guardiola when both were at Barcelona.

City are reportedly unwilling to meet Arsenal’s asking price for Sanchez — reportedly £35 million (Dh176.4m) — when he would be available on a free transfer this summer.

United manager Jose Mourinho had said on Friday that Sanchez was a “phenomenal player,” adding: “What we believe is, there are some players in the football world (that) if you have the chance to sign them in January, March or July, you have to try.”

Sanchez was only a substitute in Arsenal’s League Cup semi-final match against Chelsea on Wednesday.