Alexis Sanchez’s proposed £60 million deadline-day move to Manchester City was ‘not very close’, according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
The Chilean’s expected transfer to the Etihad Stadium fell through on Thursday after Arsenal’s failure to land Thomas Lemar from Monaco for an eye-watering £92m.
And the Frenchman, who expects Sanchez to remain ‘100 per cent’ committed this season, has admitted that the 21-year-old chose to remain with the Ligue 1 champions instead of making the move to England.
Wenger told beIN SPORTS about Sanchez’s failed move to be reunited with Pep Guardiola:
‘It was not very close, it’s very difficult for me to speak about that because what I want now is the player to focus on his career, on his season and Arsenal.
‘I always think first, make sure that my commitment is at the level that is expected from people paying me and have confidence in me. On the player’s side it is exactly the same.’
The 67-year-old reiterated he has ‘no doubt’ that last season’s top-scorer will continue to give his all as he enters the final year of his contract.
Wenger added that Arsenal will take a ‘financial sacrifice’ as they face losing their star player for free next summer.
‘I can not tell you everything that happened because after you decide to let a player of that calibre go, you need to replace him because nobody would understand that you let the player go.
‘When you can not do it you keep the player, and you make a financial sacrifice because at the end of the day what you want is to have a team with good potential and top quality.
‘So Alexis Sanchez will go, like Mesut Ozil, in the final year of his contract, or you think that during the season you find a way to extend the contract, or at the end of the season the players go for free.’
The Gunners’ late move for young Monaco prospect Lemar fell through after they insisted there was not enough time left to complete the deal.
Wenger claims the France international, who scored twice in a 4-0 win over Holland on Thursday night, preferred to stay put.
‘The player chose to stay in Monaco. I do not want to talk too much. You have to respect what really happens on the negotiation side.
‘I know we live in an era of transparency but at some stage to respect everybody you have to not talk too much about that.’