Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez rejected the “maximum” the club could afford in order to agree a huge £450,000-a-week deal at Manchester United.
The Frenchman has confirmed that Sanchez, who was pictured driving into Arsenal’s London Colney training base on Thursday morning and then leaving later in the day, could seal his move to Old Trafford within the next 24 hours after United put together a package to make him the club’s highest earner in Premier League history.
Sanchez will take home a basic wage of £350,000 a week, plus image rights of £100,000 a week and £7.5 million-a-year signing on fee for four years.
And speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Crystal Palace, Wenger insisted he had no hard feelings towards Sanchez despite him turning down a lucrative new contract at the Emirates.
“I have no problems with Sanchez,” Wenger said. “He trained yesterday. He is 29 years old and the next contract is very important for him.
“We did the maximum we could afford to do (with Sanchez’s contract offer).
“It (Sanchez’s move to Manchester United) can happen can as well not happen. It’s at that stage. If it doesn’t happen he will play on Saturday (against Palace).”
Asked whether the deal, which is worth £20m to the Gunners and another £15m to Sanchez’s agent, could be completed within 24 hours, Wenger added: “I have worked on transfers for 30 years.
“It is likely to happen but any minute things can break down. As long as it’s not over the line you can accept it might not happen.
“I left him out of Bournemouth because the transfer was quite advanced. It’s now in the next 24 or 48 hours it will happen or not.”
Wenger also confirmed that United playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan is on the verge of swapping clubs with Sanchez by completing a move to north London.
The former Borussia Dortmund star has fallen out of favour under United boss Jose Mourinho, who was pictured being driven into the club’s Carrington training base on Thursday morning.
Asked whether a deal was close, Wenger said: “My understanding is yes. Yes of course (I like him), if it’s a possibility it’s because I like the player.
“We played many times against him at Dortmund. He certainly appreciated the quality of our games and how we play football. Certainly he loves the club.
“This would be an exchange of player and one would replace the other. We are still in the market.”
Wenger confirmed money would not be an issue with Mkhitaryan, despite the midfielder looking to increase his wages to around £200,000 a week.
The 28-year-old’s agent, Mino Raiola, arrived in London to negotiate the terms of the deal on Thursday, according to Sky Sport Italy.
Arsenal are also working on deals for Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bordeaux winger Malcom, but Wenger refused to be drawn too much on either player.
“I don’t think we are close to doing that that (signing Malcom),” Wenger insisted. “I don’t think so now (in January).
“I have nothing to add to that (a deal for Aubameyang). This kind of thing is better when it’s secret, when you announce it is over the line. Nothing else is close.”
However, the Frenchman insisted that the Gabon star would fit in at the Emirates despite concerns over his behaviour in Germany.
He added: “Yes (he would fit in) because a character can be very positive and very negative. Overall you look at the achievement of the player over his career.”
Wenger also said “nothing to add” about a move for West Brom defender Jonny Evans and insisted Mesut Ozil, who like Sanchez is out of contract at the end of the season, would not be sold this month.
The Arsenal boss is hopeful that Jack Wilshere will agree a new contract after breaking back into the first-team towards the end of last year.
Earlier this week the England midfielder had been offered a deal worth a basic £80,000 a week – £10,000 a week less than he currently earns.
“We know what we want,” Wenger added. “We want him (Wilshere) to stay, we want him to extend. We have to find a satisfying financial agreement with Jack.”
© Daily Mail