Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ready to let Alexis Sanchez leave for free next year if he does not sign contract extension

Simon Collings
The Telegraph
Alexis Sánchez has been linked with a move to Manchester City, though Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has said the Chilean may have to play out the final year of his contract before he can leave - 2017 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Alexis Sánchez has been linked with a move to Manchester City, though Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has said the Chilean may have to play out the final year of his contract before he can leave - 2017 The Arsenal Football Club Plc

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ready to put football before finance by keeping Alexis Sanchez for this season – even though he runs the risk of losing him for free next summer.

Sanchez is currently in talks with Arsenal over a new contract, with his present deal due to expire in under a year.

However, despite extensive negotiations, the forward is still no closer to signing an extension and it means he could leave for nothing in 11 months unless he is sold now.

Manchester City are interested in Sanchez and recent reports have claimed they are ready to part with £60m to secure the Chile international before the transfer window closes later this month.

However, Wenger has now revealed he is prepared to reject such financially lucrative proposals so he can keep Sanchez at the club to aid Arsenal’s push for the Premier League title this season. 

Which Premier League deals will happen this summer, which might and which won't?
Which Premier League deals will happen this summer, which might and which won't?

“I am a football manager, I want Sanchez to stay, and that’s it. After that, all the financial implications, for me, are less important,” said Wenger.

“It is a financial sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that you have to calculate, how much it costs. If you let the player go and you buy somebody you spend maybe more than you lose.

“And as well if you extend the contracts it costs you maybe more than you lose when you keep the player. So you have to consider the length of the contract as well that the players want.

“So all that is into consideration, the financial sacrifice is not as heavy as it looks.”

Wenger’s decision to put success on the pitch ahead of financial matters would mark a change in tact from his previous dealings in the transfer market.

In the past, the Frenchman has been forced to sell key players such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri as Arsenal continued to pay off the debt of their move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.

However, with the club now on a strong financial footing, Wenger is prepared to scrap such a policy and go against his own economic principles by keeping hold of Sanchez.

“There is a part that is rational, and the other part is completely irrational: it is passion, ego, pride, you can call that how you want,” Wenger added.

“How much is that worth financially? Maybe that’s down to every club. How can you quantify today what Neymar costs? Will he bring €300million back? It’s impossible to say.

“There is a part that is not rational, that is called success. How much are you ready to pay for success?

“But on the other hand, you face a reality as well. At the end of the month, you have to face the fact that you have to pay your players and everybody at the club.”

Despite Wenger’s insistence that Sanchez will at least be staying at the Emirates for one more season, Arsenal supporters will still be fearful the Chile international could leave this month.

New kits 17/18
New kits 17/18

Wenger has made similar promises regarding players’ futures in the past with the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie. All three ended up leaving the club.

And when pushed whether Sanchez will 100 per cent stay at Arsenal this season along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil, who are also in the final year of their contracts, Wenger said: “100 per cent never exists, because never in our job never exists.

“I think all the three will stay. I will fight for them to stay. I want Sanchez to stay. I want Sanchez to extend his contract.

“Look both players (Ozil and Sanchez) are happy at the club. So that, for me, after you have to meet their needs. Their needs are their desire for success and their needs are as well financial.

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