Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal should have sold Alexis Sanchez last summer, even without a replacement, when Manchester City came hunting in the summer. The Chilean eventually moved to Manchester United in January, having not had the desired effect Wenger hoped he would have when he decided to keep him beyond the end of last summer.

The Red Devils completed the signing of Alexis Sanchez on 22 January. The Chilean international arrived at Old Trafford from Arsenal and Henrikh Mkhitaryan moved in the opposite direction as part of the deal.

The saga of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil's expiring contracts cast a shadow over the first half of Arsenal's season that was not lifted until the end of the January transfer window. Sanchez's departure was followed by Mesut Ozil signing a new contract while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also made the move from Borussia Dortmund.

The flurry of activity near the end of the January window, breathed new life into the north London club as they demolished Everton 5-1 at the Emirates with Aubameyang scoring on his debut and Mkhitaryan showing his class by making three assists of which Aaron Ramsey scored a hat-trick.

The performance was in stark contrast to the one in mid-week where they lost 3-1 to Swansea, continuing their woeful form away from home. Wenger, speaking ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham, conceded that Sanchez's transfer saga had a destabilising influence on the club before he left and that the Gunners would have been better off without the cloud hindering their performances.

"We have not the defensive stability since the start of the season that you need to have to be completely efficient at our level," Wenger said, as quoted by ESPN. "And as well there was a lot of uncertainty around the team with the Sanchez case, the Ozil case. For the whole season that was a really difficult case.

"In hindsight maybe despite the fact we couldn't have brought somebody in we should have cut that earlier. Sanchez, for him it was very difficult because as soon as he had game that was average he was questioned about his commitment and that is not his case."

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United from Arsenal in January Getty