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Arsene Wenger confirms Alexis Sanchez will not leave this month if Arsenal fail to sign replacement

Mirror logo Mirror 12/1/2018 John Cross

Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time Arsenal are ready to sell Alexis Sanchez - but only if they get in a replacement.

Manchester City are confident of signing Sanchez in the January window while Manchester United have come in with a rival bid for the Arsenal forward.

Gunners boss Wenger has refused to even discuss the issue but changed his stance at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning.

Arsenal turned down City’s last gasp £60m bid for Sanchez in the summer because they could not get a deal done in time for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar in time.

This time they are looking at Bordeaux’s Brazilian forward Malcom and, when asked whether Sanchez depended on bringing in a replacement, Wenger replied: “You sum it up very well.”

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REUTERS

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AFP

Then when pressed as to whether he wanted a quick resolution, Wenger added: “Yes of course.”

Wenger admitted they are looking at replacements but admitted his admiration for Malcom and added: “He’s a good player but at the moment nothing is happening there. We are not on that case at the moment.

“Replaceable in the way that we find exactly the same player, certainly not, but there’s always a way to find a different balance. Alexis is an exceptional football player, he’s a world class player and if that happens we have to find a different balance in the team.”

Wenger left Sanchez out of his starting line-up at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and there will be a doubt over whether he plays at Bournemouth on Sunday.

But Wenger insists that Sanchez remains committed despite the ongoing doubts about his future with City and now United circling.

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Arsenal FC via Getty

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AFP

Wenger said: “Look, honestly I cannot tell you much more at the moment about this situation. Nothing is really concrete at the moment.

“Look, I don’t question Alexis’ passion. When he’s on the football pitch he wants to win, he’s committed.

“I had many conversations about him and we talked about the fact that people are always observing you with a microscope when you’re on a short-term contract, but I’ve never questioned his professional attitude when he’s on the football pitch. Alexis wants to win. When he shows frustration, it’s because we didn’t win.

“Yeah (I have conversations) with him of course. He is always fully committed. He never had any problem through his attitude or his commitment.

“It’s not that I don’t want to inform you, I don’t want to give you wrong information and at the moment I must say nothing is decided one way or the other.

“A bidding war is always beneficial to the club who can take advantage of it. We are not in that. I maintain what I’ve said many times. Normally, he should stay here until the end of the season but we’ll see.”

Then Sky’s reporter Gary Cotterill cheekily asked: “If you were a player, would rather play for Guardiola or Mourinho?”

Wenger laughed and said: “If I was a player, I would play for the club I am at with 100 per cent commitment.”

Everton have also confirmed they are in negotiations for Theo Walcott - as reported by Mirror Sport - and Wenger also said that he wants the England forward to stay but knows he wants to play to stand any chance of going to the World Cup.

Wenger added: “Again, I cannot tell you much more. Sam Allardyce has made that statement but Theo Walcott is here.

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Catherine Ivill

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AFP

“We will see, I have a good relationship with Theo and I don’t want him to be frustrated or lose an opportunity to go to the World Cup because Theo went to the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and we are now in 2018 and since he has not been for different reasons, so that is a sensitive subject.”

Wenger also insisted that Alexandre Lacazette - who has gone 594 minutes without a goal - will rediscover his form.

Lacazette was substituted at Chelsea in midweek and Wenger admits his lack of goals is affecting the France striker’s confidence.

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“It certainly affects him a little bit, but I’m not worried. I think he was diminished a bit physically on Wednesday night because he was a bit not at his best before the game, but he was as well very isolated,” said Wenger.

“It was a difficult game for a striker on Wednesday night because he did defend a lot, but overall I don’t worry that will come back and it’s in cycles, at the moment he’s going through a cycle that is a bit more frustrating for him.”

Arsenal go to Bournemouth on Sunday with Aaron Ramsey back in the squad, Jack Wilshere should be fit while Mesut Ozil will have a late fitness test.

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