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ARSENE WENGER has said he does not want to sell Alexis Sanchez this summer – but refused to rule out the Arsenal board striking a deal above his head.
The Chile international is out of contract next summer but has been the target of £50m interest from Manchester City after he refused to extend his deal at the Emirates beyond 2018.
However, Wenger has given his clearest indication yet that he feels the right move is to squeeze a final year out of him before allowing him to leave for nothing at the end of the season.
Nevertheless, he voiced the caveat that the ultimate power lies with his board.
“It’s my decision, but after the board has to of course agree with me,” he said. “If they don’t agree, we will accept it.
“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.
“Also, if you extend the contract, 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 when all that is into consideration, the financial sacrifice is not as heavy as it looks.
“I am a football manager, I want Sanchez to stay, and that’s it. After that, all the financial implications is less important.
“At the end of the day you have to afford it as well, you must afford it. But I want Sanchez to stay, I want Sanchez to extend his contract.”
Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also out of contract next summer, and when pushed to say for certain that the three would still be Arsenal players after the transfer window shuts on August 31, Wenger was noticeably cagey.
“Today, yes, I think all the three will stay – I will fight for them to stay,” he said. “But 100 per cent never exists, because in our job it never exists.”