Arsene Wenger has insisted that Alexis Sanchez was never in danger of leaving Arsenal on Thursday's transfer deadline day, despite reports that the club had agreed a fee with Manchester City for the Chilean.
The Frenchman was cagey over the details of the move, insisting that he and a '100% committed' Sanchez are now trying to move forward to concentrate on the rest of the season.
"It was not very close," he said. "It's very difficult for me to speak about that because what I want now is the player to focus on his career, on his season and Arsenal. I always think first, make sure that my commitment is at the level that is expected from people paying me and have confidence in me. On the player's side it is exactly the same."
He continued: "I can not tell you everything that happened because after you decide to let a player of that calibre go, you need to replace him because nobody would understand that you let the player go.
"When you can not do it you keep the player, and you make a financial sacrifice because at the end of the day what you want is to have a team with good potential and top quality.
"So Alexis Sanchez will go, like Mesut Ozil, in the final year of his contract, or you think that during the season you find a way to extend the contract, or at the end of the season the players go for free."
Wenger also opened up on a failed move for Monaco star Thomas Lemar, saying: "The player chose to stay in Monaco. I do not want to talk too much. You have to respect what really happens on the negotiation side. I know we live in an era of transparency but at some stage to respect everybody you have to not talk too much about that."