Arsene Wenger has noted that Alexis Sanchez accepted an offer to join Manchester United since it would be the last big contract of his career.
The Chile international looked destined for a move to Manchester City this month but Pep Guardiola’s side, unwilling to bid £20m, were financially outmuscled by their neighbours.
A straight swap deal involving Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has now been completed, with no money involved in the move despite reports claiming Arsenal would demand a separate fee alongside the Armenian.
Speaking over the weekend, Wenger insinuated that the temptation of a bigger deal elsewhere was what pulled the 29-year-old towards Old Trafford.
“I cannot understand anybody wanting to leave Arsenal. But in 30 years of doing transfers you learn a lot about human beings,” he said.
“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.
“We have tried to find the best possible solution and the best possible solution is that we lose a world-class player. I don’t deny that at all. But we did not lose him without getting somebody after. The future will tell if it was the right decision or not.
“It is not that we are only losing a player, we are gaining a player as well. And we are still active in the transfer market and trying to bring players in.”
There is no doubt that the deal United tabled for Sanchez and Arsenal was too good to turn down. That, after all, is what you call good business, but it doesn’t explain why the Chilean decided to join up with Jose Mourinho.
He did so for the same reason other Arsenal players, such as Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, eventually decided to leave the Emirates: the club lacked the ambition on and off the pitch to ever properly challenge for the title.
Sanchez has single handedly dragged Arsenal through games at times over the last few years, his raw chutzpah contrasting heavily with a wider neurosis around him, and you can hardly blame the man for wanting a change.