Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Friday refused to rule out a January exit for Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez but said the attacker won't leave until a replacement is found. The Gunners chief also stated Girondins de Bordeaux winger Malcom isn't on the club's radar.
Wenger spoke to the media prior to Sunday's Premier League clash against Bournemouth and appeared resigned to the possibility of the Chile international's departure this winter: "Nothing is really concrete at the moment, and nothing is decided one way or another. Normally, he would stay at the club until the end of the season, but we'll see."
ESPN FC's Mattias Karen provided further context from Friday's press conference and added a successor would have to be found in order for Sanchez to depart:
The January transfer window will be Arsenal's last chance to sell Sanchez for a fee, with his contract due to expire in the summer and an extension looking to be out of the question for the Chilean.
BBC Sport's David Ornstein referred to Bordeaux speedster Malcom as Arsenal's "first choice" to replace Sanchez, noting City may still get their way convincing Arsenal to sell Sanchez for a lesser fee:
David Ornstein @bbcsport_david
As reported by others, Alexis Sanchez will leave Arsenal this month if suitable offer made + replacement secured. Hierarchy accept/expect it, conversations continue with Man City. #AFC wanted £35m, #MCFC £20m, possible compromise £25-30m. 1st choice replacement Bordeaux’s Malcom https://t.co/lZtS98ocqk
Manchester United also recently emerged as a contender for Sanchez's signature, but Wenger added there's no sign of a bidding war: "Honestly I can't tell you much more at the moment about this situation, because nothing is really concrete at the moment. A bidding war is always beneficial for the club that can take advantage of it, but we're not in that."
The Mirror's John Cross doubted whether Arsenal's talisman is interested in a move to Old Trafford, having long been linked with a reunion with his former Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, at the Etihad Stadium:
Addressing the reported interest in right-sided specialist Malcom, Wenger said, per Goal's Chris Burton: "He is a good player, but nothing is happening. We are not on that case at the moment."
The 20-year-old joined the Ligue 1 outfit from Brazilian outfit Corinthians in 2016, and South American football journalist Tim Vickery recently told BBC 5 live Sport the winger's departure isn't far away:
Burton also provided a screenshot of a since-deleted Instagram post from Malcom that showed him studying English, suggesting a move to the Premier League could be in his sights.
Sanchez's status at the Emirates Stadium remains in some doubt, but unless a replacement is found before the transfer window closes on January 31, the Gunners will be liable to keep their man and allow him to leave for free in the summer.