Wenger braced for Sanchez exit after star forward sits out Bournemouth loss

Alexis Sanchez could leave Arsenal “in the next 48 hours”, Arsene Wenger has admitted.

Wenger insisted Sanchez did not refuse to play in Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth, though the Chile striker did not travel to the south coast.

Gunners boss Wenger believes Sanchez could even yet still stay at Arsenal, even though he has refused to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring in the summer.

Wenger confirmed he has received assurances from Arsenal’s board that Sanchez will be replaced if he leaves, with Manchester United appearing ready to pip Manchester City to the 29-year-old’s signature.

“Alexis would have played,” said Wenger, after Arsenal leaked two goals in five minutes to slip to defeat.

“Alexis would have played, but it’s a difficult period for him. He’s always been committed until now but he could have gone yesterday and he could go in the next 48 hours. It was difficult for him because he was on standby. That’s why I decided not to do it. He did not refuse to play.”

Asked if Sanchez will be replaced if he leaves, Wenger said: “Yes. Look, if Sanchez goes we need to replace him. If players like Sanchez go we have of course to respond.

“Will he go or not, I don’t know, but at the moment it’s the transfer period. In this kind of period we try to use the players completely focused on being at the club.

“I don’t master the rhythm of that but it could happen today, tomorrow, or not at all. That’s why I didn’t want to travel with him, and then suddenly he could go.”

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