Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says there is “nothing concrete” yet regarding the possible transfer of Alexis Sanchez, despite reported interest from the Manchester clubs.
But, while Wenger maintains it would be “normal” for Sanchez to stay until his contract elapses at the end of the season, he admitted that “nothing is decided one way or another”.
The future of Sanchez has been the subject of much debate all season with the Chilean’s deal set to expire at the end season, putting Arsenal at risk of losing him on a free transfer.
Sanchez has long been linked with Manchester City, which would mean a reunion with his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, but reports emerged on Thursday that Manchester United were also interested.
Asked on Friday whether United had indeed joined the chase for Sanchez, Wenger said: “I cannot tell you much more at the moment about the situation.
“Nothing is really concrete.”
When it was suggested those answers implied there was some truth in the speculation, the Gunners boss added: “You [the media] conclude that.
“It’s not that I don’t want to inform you. I don’t want to give you wrong information. At the moment, nothing is decided one way or another.
“A bidding war is always beneficial to the club who can take advantage of it but we are not in that.
“I maintain what I said. many times, that normally he should stay here until the end of the season, but we will see.”
If Sanchez is sold, Arsenal will be in the market for a new forward themselves.
Asked if it was possible to replace Sanchez, Wenger said: “Replaceable in the way, do we find exactly the same player? Certainly not.
“But there is always a way, to find a different balance.
“Sanchez is an exceptional football player, a world-class player and, if that happens [he is sold], we have to find a different balance in the team.”
When it was put to him that Sanchez would only be sold if a suitable replacement had been found, Wenger said: “You sum it up very well.”
Bordeaux forward Malcolm has been mentioned as a possible Sanchez replacement for Arsenal but Wenger responded: “He’s a good player, but at the moment nothing is happening.
“We are not on that case at the moment.”