Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez’s future will be decided “in the next 48 hours” after he was left out of the team for Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth, says manager Arsene Wenger.
The 29-year-old is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a January move to Manchester City.
However, Manchester United have also been linked with the Chilean.
“I don’t master the rhythm of it, but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all,” said Wenger.
“It will be decided in the next 48 hours.”
Speaking before the match, Wenger had said: “He’s being vague at the moment. The situation is not completely decided one way or the other, so I left him at home.”
Asked if a decision was imminent, he replied: “Yes. Don’t read too much in it because even I don’t know which way it will go.”
City are unwilling to match the £35m asking price and, asked about the prospects of signing Sanchez after his team’s 4-3 defeat at Anfield on Sunday, manager Pep Guardiola said: “He is an Arsenal player.
“I talk about the players in my squad now. We have the players we have. I don’t know if we will finish with that. We have four competitions, a lot of games and we are going to try.”
United boss Jose Mourinho said on Friday that Sanchez is a “phenomenal player”.
He added: “What we believe is there are some players in the football world, if you have the chance to sign them in January, March or July, you have to try. And that’s it.”
Paris St-Germain have also been linked with Sanchez, but the player’s preference is to join City.
It is understood Arsenal’s hierarchy have accepted Sanchez is likely to depart after three and a half years at Emirates Stadium.
However, the Gunners are reluctant to sell without replacing him, and their first choice is Bordeaux’s 20-year-old Brazilian forward Malcom.
If a deal cannot be agreed with any club, Sanchez will be able to leave when his contract expires in the summer – a situation Arsenal are keen to avoid as they would receive nothing.
Sanchez almost joined City for about £60m on the final day of the summer window, only for the transfer to collapse when Arsenal failed to sign Monaco and France midfielder Thomas Lemar.
United will pay a few extra million for Sanchez – analysis
By Simon Stone, BBC Sport:
Manchester United have taken advantage of Manchester City’s unwillingness to meet Arsenal’s £35m valuation to move to the head of the queue to sign Sanchez.
Much as the same thing happened with Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea last summer when Jose Mourinho, hearing of an impasse, stepped in and sealed a £75m deal seemingly unthinkable a few weeks earlier.
As recently as Friday, sources at United and City were expecting Sanchez to link up again with Guardiola, his former boss at Barcelona. That prospect is now regarded as highly unlikely.
It could still happen and this is one of those deals that can’t be regarded as done until the ink is dried on the contract.
However, Mourinho said himself on Friday that if a special player came available he would fight for them.
And while United are highly unlikely to win the Premier League this season, they are intent on regaining their former status – and if that means paying a few million extra for a player who would have been available for nothing in the summer, it is now plainly obvious that is what they will do.
|Sanchez’s time at Arsenal|
|July 2014 – joins Arsenal for £35m from Barcelona on a four-year deal, despite interest from Liverpool and Juventus|
|May 2015 – finishes the season as Arsenal’s top scorer with 25 goals, including a goal in the FA Cup final win over Aston Villa|
|May 2016 – finishes season with 17 goals, despite missing over a month with a hamstring injury, but the Gunners fail to win a trophy|
|May 2017 – top scores for Arsenal again, with 30, as they win the FA Cup but fail to qualify for the Champions League|
|August 2017 – agrees a £55m move to Manchester City, but Arsenal cancel the deal when they fail to sign Thomas Lemar to replace him|
|January 2018 – after the forward scores eight goals in the first half of the season, City again consider signing him with six months left on his deal|