Pep’s shock Sanchez admission, January exit twist
FOOTBALL: Injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus have suddenly thrown an Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester City in January back on the table.
The Chilean scored Arsenal's goal in a 1-1 draw with West Brom on New Year's Eve, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola watched on as two of his attacking riches hobbled off in a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
Previously, it had been thought City would wait to snare the unsettled star from Arsenal for free in the summer, rather than pay now to bring in a megastar who could change the dynamic of a dressing room producing the currently free-flowing attacking machine that is romping to the Premier League title.
Events at Selhurst Park could change that, and although Guardiola said he thinks - or is at least saying he thinks - Sanchez will remain at Arsenal, he did not deny that it is on the table for discussion at Etihad Stadium.
"I don't know (what's going to happen) but he's a player of Arsenal and I think he is going to stay there," the City boss said.
"There is some time to ask me that but I have a lot of things to think about, because in two days we have another game.
"In the internal meetings we are going to decide what is best. But my feeling now is that he's an Arsenal player and he will be."
"There's more of a need for him, rather than waiting to the end of the season and seeing what happens."
The reports come as The Sun suggest Sergio Aguero wants to return home to Argentina at the end of the season and re-unite with his first ever club, Independiente, who he left 12 years ago to move to Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger was at pains to point out that there is no rift in the dressing room, after Thierry Henry suggested Sanchez was abandoned by his teammates during a goal celebration at Crystal Palace mid-week.
Sanchez enjoyed what looked like a well-orchestrated celebration when he scored to put Arsenal up 1-0, and he got a strong show of support from Hector Bellerin who gestured "TOGETHER" to the crowd when Arsenal celebrated.
"There was never a problem inside," Wenger said.
"There are some people who want to always create problems. We focus on our own problems and that is the only important thing."
Wenger is growing decidedly irritated by the line of questioning over the star's future.
"When he plays well it's a problem," he said. "When is it not a problem? It's unbelievable.
"You judge a player on whether he played well or not and you comment on it after that.
"I am not a psychologist to know what is in his head, if he is short-term or long-term. You turn up to play football, that's it. After that you judge, did he play well or not well."
Could this have been the Chilean's last game in red?
"We play on Wednesday night," Wenger said.
"I have spoken many times about that and I am not ready to talk about that anymore.
"I have given my answer many times in the press conference and I don't see why I should come back on a subject we have talked about 155 times."
In a column for The Mirror, Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler dismissed the talk of discontent, and said even if there was, the players would just get on with it.
"I reject the idea that Alexis Sanchez is hated at Arsenal," he wrote.
"You may have assumed as much through the fallout from a few of their players not celebrating with him when he scored against Palace, but in professional football it doesn't work like that.
"Look, not everyone in a big squad gets on with each other.
"There were a few players I really couldn't stand in my time, but it didn't stop me playing alongside them, working with them."