Arsene Wenger has suggested that Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Manchester United for his last major pay day, which Arsenal were unable to give him. The Chilean had entered the final six months of his contract and refused to sign an extension as the Gunners were unable to meet his monetary demands.
The 29-year-old is reported to have already agreed a bumper four-and-a-half year deal worth at least £400,000 per week that blew previous favourites and neighbouring rivals Manchester City out of the reckoning. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is scheduled to come the other way in a swap deal, having fallen out of favour at Old Trafford this season.
Wenger had initially included Sanchez in his travelling party to face Crystal Palace this weekend, but on Friday night it emerged that the former Barcelona star had been left out and was instead ready to undergo a medical with United. However, the north London club got the job done in resounding fashion, thumping Roy Hodgson's men 4-1 ahead of their mid-week clash against Chelsea in the second leg of the semi-final tie of the Carabao Cup.
"I cannot understand anybody wanting to leave Arsenal. But in 30 years of doing transfers you learn a lot about human beings," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror. "As a professional, it was perhaps his last contract at the top level and an important contract. After that, I accept that because we accepted that we would let him go. After that, we analyse the pros and the cons.
"We did what we tried to do and went as far as we could. Even Manchester City moved out of it in the end. That tells you we had no chance to give him a contract."
The Gunners are also close to completing a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and have made a second bid for the striker to get the deal over the line. Olivier Giroud has also been offered as a makeweight to hasten the completion of the deal.
Aubameyang, who has scored 21 goals in 23 games this season, has grown disillusioned with life at the Westfalenstadion and is expected to leave the club in January, having missed the club's last two games.