Alexis Sanchez was Sunday omitted from Arsenal’s squad to face Bournemouth as speculation mounts over a January transfer to Manchester United or Manchester City.
This decision showed Arsene Wenger’s difficult start to the new year.
Sanchez, 29, did not even travel to the south coast for the lunchtime kick-off, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitting he was left at home over his unresolved future.
Sanchez has refused to sign a new Arsenal contract with his current deal expiring in the summer, and United and City are reportedly both keen on recruiting the Chile striker this month.
Wenger confirmed before kick-off at Dean Court that he remained unsure on Sanchez’s future.
“He’s being vague, we have left him at home because of the situation,” Wenger told Sky Sports.
“I still don’t know what is going to happen.”
Wenger admitted on Friday that Sanchez would not be signing a new Arsenal deal, paving the way for him to leave the club in the current transfer window.
Hector Bellerin put Arsenal ahead shortly after half-time but Eddie Howe’s side mounted an impressive comeback, scoring twice in five minutes through Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe.
Defeat leaves Arsenal in sixth place, five points off the top four ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City later on Sunday, and without a win in five games in all competitions while Bournemouth moved four points clear of the bottom three.
Sanchez, who is in the final year of his contract, has been a long-term target for Manchester City and was expected to move to the Etihad Stadium in a £60 million ($82 million, 67 million euros) transfer on the final day of the last transfer window had Arsenal completed a deal for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
City remained favourites to sign the Chile international this month until Manchester United expressed their interest last week.