Arsene Wenger admits allowing Alexis Sanchez to see out the final year of his contract could cost Arsenal as much as £140m.
On the day that Sanchez spoke of his disillusionment over the criticism he receives, Wenger revealed the numbers involved if the Chile forward leaves at the end of the season as expected.
Sanchez’s desired moved to Manchester City broke down on transfer deadline day after Arsenal failed to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, who had been identified as his successor.
Wenger admits the Gunners will miss out on a fee of up to £70m should he depart in June – and will have to spend that much again to ensure he is adequately replaced.
“You take a Sanchez into the final year of his contract, you sacrifice £60-£70m income and at the end of the season you will have to buy somebody for that amount of money,” Wenger told beIN Sports.
“It has a huge price so at some stage you have to make a decision, you have to sacrifice one or two.”
Wenger insists recent transfers led by Neymar’s £198m move to PSG have distorted the market to the point that value for money has become a secondary consideration.
“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 career for two reasons.
“One, all the players expect higher wages because they anticipate inflation.
“All the clubs, because the transfer market has gone up so much, the clubs do not want to pay so high prices for all the transfers for players who are good players, but will not change their life.
Ousmane Dembele became a Barcelona player this summer.
“The amount of money is completely disconnected to reality and the truth.
“One example – no matter how well you work as a football coach, (Ousmane) Dembele last year was €15m, this year €150m.
“No matter how well you work on the football pitch, you cannot make a player go from €15m to €150m.
“The calculation between investment and what you can get back, that has gone. It’s just, ‘can you afford to buy or not?'”
Arsenal continue to navigate choppy waters with an underwhelming summer in the transfer window compounded by a poor start to the season.
And Sanchez’s sense of frustration has only increased after he voiced his dismay at what he views as constant criticism after Chile suffered a 1-0 defeat by Bolivia that threatens their participation in next year’s World Cup.
Chile sit sixth in South American qualifying for the tournament in Russia with two rounds left. Only the top four qualify automatically.
Sanchez wrote on his Instagram account: “You get tired of being criticised with or without reason, you get tired of those who want you to lose, you get tired of saying to yourself ‘once more I’ll get up’ after crying after a defeat, and you get tired of telling the world and people who are with you, that everything is going well.
“And the worst, is that no one ever realises how that makes you feel…I have the 7 of Chile on my back and it is a huge responsibility, that’s why it makes me sad that journalists and bad people criticise without knowing.”