As Arsenal slumped to a listless defeat to AFC Bournemouth, all eyes could reasonably fixed at who was not with the team. Alexis Sanchez was left at home as reports swirl that his transfer to either Manchester United or Manchester City. With all the chaos, Arsene Wenger admitted in his post game comments that it was the major reason Alexis was not with the team.
I don’t master the rhythm of that, but it could happen today or tomorrow, or not at all, that’s why I didn’t take a decision. I didn’t want to travel with him and suddenly he goes somewhere.
And on whether they could afford to lose Alexis:
Look, if Alexis goes we need to replace him. When you look today we missed many players in our squad and you see that we have a weight in the team, and if players like Alexis go, we have of course to respond to it. Will he go or not? I do not know, but at the moment it’s the transfer period and in this kind of period you try to use the players that are completely focused at being at the club.
If today’s match was any indication, Alexis is a major part of Arsenal’s attack and without him, struggle to find any purchase in a game. Away from home, their record has been atrocious and have only won 1 game against the lower half of the table. Arsenal clearly requires his attacking spark but with his departure seemingly imminent, the club wasn’t prepared to risk injury or distraction to the player.
When asked if a replacement was on the cards should he leave, Wenger simply replied, “Yes” which is encouraging though he had no update on the widely suspected buy of Malcolm from Bourdeaux.
A final note, reporters were also quick to ask about the missing Mesut Ozil, and whether he was also left behind ahead of a suspected transfer. Replied Arsene Wenger:
No, Mesut is injured.
So there’s that.