Alexis Sanchez’s protracted transfer to Manchester United has taken a further twist after the Chilean was axed from first-team training.
The Chilean is set to join United in a deal that will likely see Henrikh Mkhitaryan head in the opposite direction.
Sanchez arrived at London Colney for training but completed a session with the club’s development team ahead of Saturday’s clash against Crystal Palace.
The development provides the clearest indication yet Sanchez’s move to Old Trafford is imminent.
Having been contacted by Sportsmail, Arsenal have declined to comment.
The 29-year-old star has agreed a staggering £450,000-a-week deal at United.
Sanchez will take home a basic wage of £350,000 a week, plus image rights of £100,000 a week and £7.5million-a-year signing on fee for four years.
Speaking earlier on Thursday, Wenger said the deal would likely go through within the next 48 hours but suggested if the transfer wasn’t completed by the weekend that Sanchez would be named in his squad to face the Eagles,
‘It is likely to happen but any minute things can break down. As long as it’s not over the line you can accept it might not happen.
‘It’s the deadline now. I left him out at Bournemouth because I was scared that the transfer would happen before we played Bournemouth.
‘It was already quite advanced so I didn’t want to be in the position where I tried with him and he has to go back, so he doesn’t play.
‘It’s now in the next 24 to 48 hours that it will happen or not.’
Wenger added that he has had no issues with the Chile star.
‘I have no problems with Sanchez,’ Wenger said. ‘He trained yesterday. He is 29 years old and the next contract is very important for him.
‘We did the maximum we could afford to do (with Sanchez’s contract offer).’
Wenger also confirmed that United playmaker Mkhitaryan is on the verge of swapping clubs with Sanchez by completing a move to north London.
The former Borussia Dortmund star has fallen out of favour under United boss Jose Mourinho, who was pictured being driven into the club’s Carrington training base on Thursday morning.
Asked whether a deal was close, Wenger said: ‘My understanding is yes. Yes of course (I like him), if it’s a possibility it’s because I like the player.
‘We played many times against him at Dortmund. He certainly appreciated the quality of our games and how we play football. Certainly he loves the club.
‘This would be an exchange of player and one would replace the other. We are still in the market.’