Arsene Wenger says Manchester City’s deadline-day deal to land Alexis Sanchez ‘was not very close at all’.
The Arsenal manager’s claim comes as he insists the Chile striker will be ‘100 per cent’ committed at the Emirates despite his move to City breaking down at the 11th hour .
Sanchez, currently on international duty, is said to be ‘devastated’ the transfer was derailed.
And Wenger’s insistence that it was a long way from happening is sure to raise eyebrows with City bosses who felt they were very close to getting their man.
Arsenal accepted a £55million bid on deadline day with the proviso they could bring in a replacement.
Their last-gasp effort to land Monaco’s Thomas Lemar fell through, despite a £92m bid being accepted – though whether a deal of such magnitude, for a player who was away on international duty, was ever going to go through in the final hours of the window is debatable.
The upshot was City were denied a player Arsenal knew they had wanted for four months, yet Wenger told beIN Sports: “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 on Arsenal football club.
“I cannot tell you everything that happened because after when you decide to let a player of that calibre go you need to replace him, because nobody would understand why you let the player go.
And when you cannot do it you keep the player and make a financial sacrifice, because at the end of the day what you want is to have a team with a good potential and top quality.
City will try to get the Arsenal star again when Sanchez becomes a free agent next summer.
And the Blues could yet launch a fresh bid in January – but their preference is to wait until the end of the season when his contract at the Emirates expires.
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez has threatened to never play for Arsenal again after the club prevented him from joining Manchester City on deadline day, according to reports.
Arsenal’s priority was to sign Thomas Lemar and even though their £92m bid was given the green light by Monaco, the 21-year-old declined the chance to move to Arsene Wenger’s side.
Goal now report that Sanchez feels Arsenal have ‘messed around’ with his future and has ‘no motivation’ to continue playing under Wenger.
The report also claims that Sanchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, is furious with Arsenal’s decision to put the brakes on the transfer after initially indicating that a deal was possible.
Wenger – who never wanted to lose Sanchez – believes the player will be committed for the remainder of his time at Arsenal, despite being said to be angered by the outcome.
“100 per cent. I have no doubt about that,” said the Gunners boss.
“I spoke before about integrity and values, and I always think first: make sure my commitment is at the level that it is expected from people who pay me and have confidence in me, and I think on the player’s side it is exactly the same.”