Press conference

Wenger on the latest on Alexis and Mkhitaryan

It is the story that has dominated the January transfer window - so what is the latest on Alexis and Henrikh Mkhitaryan?

Arsene Wenger was asked about its in his post-match press conference on Saturday, and this is what he had to say:

on whether he was tempted to pick Alexis today…
Yes.

on why he didn’t select him…
I didn’t play him because there is the question of him moving to Manchester United. He could not drive up north and as well play football. That’s difficult. So that’s why I decided to leave him out.

on whether that means Alexis is up north…
Let me think… yes.

on whether the deal will happen today, tomorrow or further into next week…
I expect it to happen, maybe. But I cannot announce it. In the next 48 hours, it will be decided one way or another. With these kind of things, as long as it is not over the line, you cannot say that it will happen. The negotiations become more and more longer and edgy as well because every detail becomes public nowadays. I cannot say it will happen or not happen. If you want to have a bet… it could happen.

on whether Mkhitaryan is going to come to Arsenal as part of the deal…
It happens only one way if the other way happens as well. That is why it takes longer as well, because it has to be coordinated and so the pace of advancing on both sides has to be adjusted.

on whether it is difficult to lose another player to Manchester United…
Look, what is very difficult is that for the first time in January, we were losing one of our big players. It is the first time so it is a bit more destabilising than usual. The period of uncertainty was difficult. Once things are clear, the team responds and focuses on its job. That’s why for us, it’s not only to lose a world class player, it is as well that this period of uncertainty creates a strange feeling in the dressing room. That’s why this transfer period is difficult in the middle of the season.

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