Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed there has been no progress in contract negotiations with Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez but is prepared to accept the "consequence" of his stance over the Chile international and lose him for free next summer.
Sanchez, 28, is one of a host of players with just one year left on his contract at The Emirates Stadium and has attracted interest from a number of European clubs during the summer transfer window.
City are believed to be preparing a £60m (€65.8m, $77.3m) offer for the talismanic attacker, who has designs on reuniting with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, but Arsenal are determined to keep their star forward from the grasp of a Premier League rival.
Sanchez missed Arsenal's thrilling Premier League opener against Leicester City on Friday (11 August) with an abdominal problem and Wenger confirmed that he will sit out of his side's trip to Stoke City in order to fully recover from the knock.
Wenger, who will be able to call on Per Mertesacker this weekend after the German recovered from a nasty head injury sustained against Chelsea in the Community Shield, also confirmed that Arsenal have made little progress in their attempts to tie Sanchez down to a new long-term contract and is prepared to let the former Udinese wonderkid leave north London on a free transfer next summer.
The Frenchman admitted that his decision to keep Sanchez this summer does not tie in with the club's "financial interests" but, after years of cutting his cloth accordingly, the Arsenal boss is now prioritising "efficiency on the field".
"From last week I think [Per] Mertesacker will be available," Wenger said in his press conference. "It looks early for Sanchez but he is working very hard in training. He should be available for [the game against] Liverpool. His recovery is going very well and he is working very hard, but we have to be cautious. It's a muscular strain.
"At the moment no [update on Sanchez's contract], we have not progressed on that front and at the moment he's a player who goes into the final year of his contract."
Asked if he is prepared for Sanchez to leave for free next summer, Wenger said: "That's a consequence of what I say unfortunately, we have to make a choice between efficiency on the field and financial interest, if you can find a good compromise that's better, but now I prioritise the sporting side."