Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal will have to change the balance of their team if Alexis Sanchez leaves and confirmed, for the first time, that he held off selling the Chile international in the summer because he couldn’t secure a suitable replacement.
Speculation in the last 24 hours has claimed that Manchester United have joined Manchester City in attempting to lure the striker to the North-West in a deal worth around £25 million. The Blues came close to snapping up Sanchez on transfer deadline day in August but the move collapsed at the last moment when Arsenal failed to secure Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
The Gunners risk losing Sanchez for free in the summer when his current contract ends.
Asked in his pre-Bournemouth press conference about whether he’ll find a like-for-like replacement, Wenger replied: “Replaceable? In the way, that do we find the same player? Certainly not, But there’s always a way to find a different balance.
“Sanchez is an exceptional player and if that happens [he leaves] we have to find a different balance in the team.”
Asked if he would hold off selling Sanchez in January if a suitable replacement wasn’t found, as was the case in the summer, Wenger replied: “Yeah, it’s the case now [as well]…you sum it up very well.”
On whether he’d like a quick resolution to the situation, Wenger added: “Yes, of course. It’s not the fatigue factor, it’s just I cannot tell you what I don’t know. I don’t want to give information that I cannot back up after. You’ll come back after and ask why did I say that.
“I like to be a bit vague. To use my entire experience of press conferences I don’t like to talk things that I cannot back up.”
Arsenal continue to be linked with Lemar and Bordeaux’s young Brazilian Malcom, could they be the key to a Sanchez move? We’ll wait and see.