Alexis Sanchez has been left out of the Arsenal squad to face Bournemouth on Sunday after multiple rumours the Chilean is set to leave the club this month.
Sanchez has six-months remaining on his current deal at Arsenal, and both Manchester City and Manchester United are highly interested in luring the winger away from North London this month rather than signing the 29-year-old on pre-contract agreement.
The Sanchez tug-of-war
Pep Guardiola’s side have long been seen as the favourites to sign Sanchez, but developments in recent days have seen Jose Mourinho leapfrog over their noisy neighbours in the race to sign the attacker, with United set to offer higher wages to Sanchez than City, as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal as a ready-made replacement for the winger.
It was also revealed that City would not pay anymore that £20 million for Sanchez to get him this month, whilst other reports indicated that the former Barcelona winger could join the pending Premier League champions on a free in the summer by agreeing to a £35 million signing-on-fee.
Arsene Wenger’s stance on the Sanchez deal has been to bring in a replacement first and then sell his star player. The aforementioned Mkhitaryan would be a useful replacement for the Chilean, but it is believed that the French manager would prefer Bordeaux winger Malcom as a replacement for the want away attacker.
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A must-win game at the Vitality
Sanchez’s absence from the Arsenal squad this weekend not only signals the departure of the once beloved Gunners man, but that Wenger’s side will be without their most dangerous player in a must win game on the south coast.
Mesut Ozil is also absent from the Arsenal squad, as Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck start alongside Alexandre Lacazette in the Gunners' front three.
Arsenal currently sit sixth in the table with a game in hand over Tottenham Hotspur, who are five points ahead of their North London rivals. A win on Sunday is vital for the Gunners’ slim chances of regaining Champions League football this season.