Arsene Wenger says the club will decide Alexis Sanchez’s future in the next 48 hours, one way or another, and admits they have to replace the Chilean.

Wenger left Sanchez at home for the Gunners’ clash with Bournemouth on Sunday. Unsurprisingly that was the main focus of his post-match press conference. The manager said (via Standard): “If Sanchez goes, we need to replace him. When you look today we missed many players. If he goes, we have to respond. At the moment we try to use players who are completely focused on the club.”

On the prospect of a move, Wenger said: “It could happen today, tomorrow or not at all. I didn’t want to travel with him and then he goes somewhere.

“It will be decided in the next 48 hours. It was difficult for him because he was on standby a little bit.”

The boss also said the 29-year-old is “half in, half out” on BBC Sport. Presumably, he means for the next six months, because there’s no way Sanchez is even half in after that.

For a while, Manchester City seemed like the only realistic destination for the forward. Now, Manchester United seem just as likely to win the race, since they’re actually willing to meet the asking price. The Daily Star claim they’ll pay up to £35m, whereas City will only offer £20m.

Sanchez will end up making the final decision though.

If Arsenal only accept a bid from United, and the Chilean wants to go to City, he can just refuse personal terms and wait for the summer. His contract will expire and he’ll be free to go wherever he wants. The Gunners can only control where the player spends the next few months, and leaving him at home suggests that will be somewhere else.

Either way, it sounds like Wenger might have given him a deadline to make a decision, although what he plans to do about it if Alexis ignores him is anyone’s guess.