Alexis Sanchez has revealed the lengths that Arsene Wenger went to keep him at Arsenal before his January transfer to Manchester United.
The forward traded north London for Manchester two months ago in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan after 18 months of speculation surrounding his future at the Emirates.
Sanchez spoke to Chilean television about his move to Old Trafford and, interestingly, explained how Wenger had tried to persuade him to stick with the Gunners as he was their 'best' player by some margin.
The Chile international said: “He was very fond of me and he didn't want to let me go. He told me, 'I want you to sign here because you are the best player in the team.'
"I wanted to continue growing as a player, more so as a Chilean, because it’s difficult to get to Manchester United. No Chilean had played here. Arsene understood it at last, we ended up on good terms, he congratulated me and there was no problem."
Sanchez's contract only had six months left to run before Arsenal relented and let him leave for their Premier League rivals, and the swap brought to an end nearly two years' worth of rumours about whether the 29-year-old would stay or go.
Sold them Alexis Sanchez as revenge for selling us Welbeck.— Don Carleton (@PapazLagos) March 13, 2018
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The ex-Barcelona and Udinese star has failed to find his best form in a United shirt yet, and was mocked by Arsenal fans after the Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Sanchez will get a well-earned rest in the summer after his homeland failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Russia but, despite knowing he'll have a period of time away from the game, he admitted that he would prefer to be playing at the international tournament.
Glad to see Alexis Sanchez fulfilling his dreams of playing top level European football at Man Utd.— Football Videos (@FootballVideos) March 13, 2018
Indeed, Sanchez even revealed that he still hasn't gotten over Chile's failure to progress past the qualification stage after their dreams were ended by a 3-0 defeat to Brazil last October.
He added: “I still haven't got over it. When this World Cup finishes, I think I’ll be a bit calmer. After the match against Brazil I went to London. I wanted to be alone with my dogs, no-one else.”