Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson would be "shocked" if Alexis Sanchez remained at the Emirates Stadium beyond the summer and is not taking any notice of Arsene Wenger's comments regarding the Chile international's future.
Sanchez, 28, is currently in the final year of his contract in north London and recently expressed his desire to play in the Champions League, a competition Arsenal failed to qualify for last season.
But Wenger, who signed a new two-year deal earlier this summer, has no interest in parting with Sanchez and says the former Udinese wonderkid will honour the final year of his deal, even if it leads to Arsenal losing him for free next summer.
But Merson, who won two league titles during his 12 seasons at Arsenal, does not think Wenger is being entirely truthful about the Sanchez situation and says his comments are part of a tried and tested method to protect himself if his coveted attacker does leave for pastures new.
"I'd be shocked if he [Sanchez] was there come the end of the transfer window," Merson told talkSPORT. "We've seen this Arsene before, he's said it a lot... Nasri's not leaving, Fabregas is not leaving, Van Persie's not leaving.
"He can say all these things and then he can say, 'it's out of my hands, the board want to sell him, the club's a business'."
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are both interested in signing Sanchez but Bayern Munich recently dropped their interest in the Chilean, with club chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisting the Bundesliga champions are no longer involved in the race for the versatile forward.
Arsenal do not want to sell Sanchez to a Premier League rival but the former Barcelona star is keen to be reunited with former boss Pep Guardiola, who may have to part with around £50m in order to bring Sanchez to the Etihad Stadium.
When asked about Manchester City's pursuit of Sanchez and Wenger's recent comments, Guardiola said: "Alexis is a player for Arsenal, so if Arsene said it's because he knows more than me."