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Arsenal ‘second best’ to Manchester City’s money - Arsene Wenger

As the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Jonny Evans remain on the agenda, Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal will struggle against Manchester City’s money.

football Updated: Jan 09, 2018 16:29 IST
By Dom Farrell
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted the Gunners will not be able to compete with Manchester City as the Premier League teams battle it out to land West Brom’s Jonny Evans.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted the Gunners will not be able to compete with Manchester City as the Premier League teams battle it out to land West Brom’s Jonny Evans. (Twitter )

Arsene Wenger concedes Arsenal cannot compete financially with Manchester City as the Premier League leaders loom large over his club’s potential January business.

City continue to be linked with a move for Alexis Sanchez, who is out of contract at the end of the season and saw a purported switch to the Etihad Stadium collapse on deadline day in August.

Despite mounting speculation that Pep Guardiola will be imminently reunited with a player he coached at Barcelona, Wenger told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup semi-final meeting with Chelsea that Arsenal had received no official approach for the Chile forward.

(Read | Manchester City need trophies to be ‘big club’, says Pep Guardiola)

City and Arsenal are both rumoured to be interested in signing ex-Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans from West Brom, picking up another thread from the previous transfer window.

It was when discussing this deal that Wenger made his latest exasperated reference to City’s financial might, having referred to the “petrol and ideas” driving the Abu Dhabi-owned club last month.

“It would only be philosophical to talk about [Evans] as long as we do not have any agreement with anybody. The best is not to talk,” Wenger said.

(Read | Barcelona new signing Philippe Coutinho ruled out for three weeks)

“[We would need] to see off any interest of any other clubs, yes, and I don’t know if Man City is in for anybody.

“I don’t know what is their policy. If the decision comes to finances with Man City we know we will be second best. That is well known.”

On Sanchez, Wenger confirmed the 29-year-old is in contention for the first leg of the semi-final clash at Stamford Bridge and stuck to a well-trodden path when discussing his future.

(Read | Antonio Conte challenges Ross Barkley to earn FIFA World Cup place)

“I expect nothing. I am focused on tomorrow’s game,” he said. “When solicitations happen you respond but at the moment it is very quiet.

“I have nothing to add to what I said before on that.

“To be professional is to perform no matter what the environment is. It is not a big influence on your performance or the performances of the team. It is part of our job to deal with that.

(Read | Unai Emery calls for unity after Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore sit out PSG win)

“I have not decided yet if he will play. I will decide today or tomorrow morning.”

Arsenal are continuing to work on possible contract extensions for midfielders Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere who, along with Sanchez, are now free to discuss terms with clubs outside the Premier League as they are into the last six months of their current deals.

“That’s not a big concern overall because I believe that most of the players today want to play in the Premier League.

“The Premier League can pay contracts and wages that no other club – apart from maybe three or four abroad – can pay.”

One man who Wenger confirmed could be on the move this month is reported West Ham target Francis Coquelin after the midfielder was left out of the matchday 18 for Sunday’s shock 4-2 FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest.

“It’s a possibility but nothing is decided,” he added. “We have no contact with West Ham.”