Football

Sanchez's future could be decided in next 48 hours: Wenger

Chilean star, who was left out of squad for 2-1 loss to Bournemouth, is 'half in, half out' of Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez's future could be decided in the next 48 hours, said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who added that the Chilean is "half in, half out".

Sanchez, widely tipped to leave the Emirates, was left out of the squad for their 2-1 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth on Sunday (Jan 14). 

The 29-year-old, who arrived in north London from Barcelona in 2014, is out of contract in the close season and has been linked with moves to both Manchester City and United, reported Reuters.

"I don't master the rhythm of it, but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all," said Wenger on Sanchez's move.

"It could be decided in the next 48 hours."

Both Sanchez and German World Cup winner Mesut Oezil could depart this month to avoid them leaving as free agents in the summer.

Before the game – which Arsenal lost despite taking the lead early in the second half – Wenger said that a decision on Sanchez’s future was “imminent”.

“Yes (it’s imminent). Don’t read too much in it because even I don’t know which way it will go.

“He’s being vague at the moment. The situation is not completely decided one way or the other, so I left him at home.”

Manchester City remained favourites to sign Sanchez this month until Manchester United expressed their interest last week.

The Old Trafford club’s willingness to meet Arsenal’s £35 million (S$63.6m) valuation of Sanchez,  together with the possibility of offering one-time Arsenal target Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of any deal, has increased the chance of the forward joining Jose Mourinho’s squad, reported AFP.

Bordeaux's 20-year-old Brazilian forward Malcom has been mentioned as a replacement for Sanchez, but Wenger said there is nothing concrete yet.

He said: "I have been assured (Sanchez) will be replaced in this window. There is nothing concrete on Malcom yet."

One of the Premier League’s brightest attacking players, Sanchez has cut an increasingly forlorn figure during a disappointing campaign.

Sixth-placed Arsenal are five points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth and, after defeat on the south coast, face an uphill task if they are to avoid a second successive season without Champions League football.

“We were 1-0 up and suddenly we lost two goals and we don’t know where they came from,” Wenger added.

“It is very frustrating. Overall, we have to look at it in a very objective and harsh way, we made mistakes we should not have made. We had to win the game.”

In four seasons at the Emirates Stadium, Sanchez has won two FA Cups. 

arsenalalexis sanchez