Arsene Wenger says the decision to keep Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal this season comes “at a huge price” for the club, and that this summer’s transfer prices were “completely disconnected to reality.”
Sanchez will see out the final year of his contract at Arsenal after the club turned down a £60 million bid from Manchester City for the Chile international.
Arsenal had initially been willing to sell but pulled the plug on the City deal after Thomas Lemar turned down a move to the Emirates Stadium, despite Monaco accepting a £92m bid.
Wenger told beIN SPORTS that those decisions will have big financial consequences next summer.
“You take Sanchez into the final year of your contract, you sacrifice £60-£70m in income and then at the end of the season you will have to buy somebody for that amount of money,” Wenger said. “So it has a huge price. So at some stage you have to make a decision, you have to sacrifice one or two [players].”
Arsenal sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool in a deal worth up to £40m to avoid his contract running out next summer, when Sanchez and Mesut Ozil could both leave the club on free transfers.
However, Wenger reiterated his belief that it will become much more common for players to let their contracts run out in order to secure higher wages from clubs who will not have to pay inflated transfer fees.
“We have today 107 players in England who go into the final year of their contract,” Wenger said. ‘It’s a complete rotation and change in the way people see their careers, for two reasons.
“One, all the players expect higher wages because they anticipate inflation; [and two] because the transfer market has gone up so much but clubs do not want to pay such high prices on transfers for players, who are good players but will not change [the club’s] life. The amount of money is completely disconnected to reality and the truth.”
Wenger cited Barcelona’s purchase of Ousmane Dembele as an example, pointing out how Borussia Dortmund bought the teenager for around €15m last summer and sold him in a deal worth up to €150m a year later.
“No matter how well you work on the football pitch you cannot make a player go from €15m to €150m,” Wenger said. “But the calculation between investment and what you can get back has gone. It’s just: can you afford to buy or not?”