Sanchez's future in doubt as Arsenal collapse

Jordon Ibe (left) sharing a joke with Bournemouth team-mate Lys Mousset after scoring the second goal in a 2-1 win against Arsenal.
Jordon Ibe (left) sharing a joke with Bournemouth team-mate Lys Mousset after scoring the second goal in a 2-1 win against Arsenal.PHOTO: REUTERS


Bournemouth 2

Arsenal 1

LONDON • Arsene Wenger dropped Alexis Sanchez from his Arsenal squad to face Bournemouth, then watched his side drop three points in the Premier League as they fell 2-1 at Dean Court yesterday.

The Gunners led through Hector Bellerin's 52nd-minute strike but Callum Wilson equalised in the 70th before Jordon Ibe grabbed the winner - his first-ever for the Cherries - four minutes later. Arsenal have now gone four games without a win at the start of a calendar year for the first time since 1995, and remain on 39 points - five behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

And they look almost certain to lose Sanchez this month, with Wenger admitting the 29-year-old was left out of the trip to Dean Court over his unresolved future.

"He's being vague, we have left him at home because of the situation," he told Sky Sports before kick-off. "I still don't know what is going to happen."

The Chile international has refused to extend his Arsenal contract beyond this summer, and Manchester United and Manchester City are reportedly both keen on recruiting him this month.

According to the Independent and the Sunday Mirror, Liverpool have entered the race although they remain outsiders to sign a player that Arsenal value at £35 million (S$63.5 million).

Sanchez had looked certain to join City and enjoy a reunion with Pep Guardiola, the manager under whom he played for one season at Barcelona. City almost got him for £60 million last summer and they have indicated a willingness to pay £20 million for him this month.

But United have moved ahead of their cross-town rivals with a more lucrative package and the sense at Arsenal is that Sanchez has had his head turned by it.

Another factor in United's favour is Arsenal's interest in Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They wanted the attacking midfielder in the summer of 2016 when he was leaving Borussia Dortmund, only for him to choose the move to Old Trafford.

Wenger admitted on Friday that Sanchez could leave this month but only if Arsenal get a replacement.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2018, with the headline 'Sanchez's future in doubt as Arsenal collapse'. Print Edition | Subscribe