Arsene Wenger is “sure” Arsenal will not sell Alexis Sanchez to a Premier League rival, emulating Robin van Persie’s switch to Manchester United in 2012.
The Chilean forward continues to be heavily linked with a summer transfer away from Emirates Stadium as he prepares to enter the final 12 months of his current contract.
Manchester City are reported to be leading the chase, with Alexis having previously worked with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.
Wenger, though, is adamant that 28-year-old will be made to stay put even if he does not commit to fresh terms, with there no chance that a deal will be done with another English top-flight team.
He told reporters: “I don’t think that you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure.
“The question is more, why would you sell him to another [Premier League] club? You want to be as strong as you can be, and not strengthen the other teams.
“I let Van Persie go in the last year of his contract because Van Persie was 29, going on 30 and he was signing a long-term contract. That is not the case with Alexis. I personally think he will sign and stay here.
“Even if he doesn’t sign a new deal, I will make him stay? Yes. Would I rather keep him than sell to a Premier League rival? Yes.
“But first of all, he is happy here. His desire is to stay. That is what I deeply believe.
“The disagreements are more contractual, not on the desire. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement, so I think it will happen.”
Wenger added on the value of keeping a player whose contract is running down: “You amortise [gradually pay off] a transfer during the length of the contract. So when you play an amount of money, every year you deduct – when he signs for four years – 25 per cent of a contract.
“The problem that you have to analyse, always, firstly is, ‘Can you find better? For what kind of money?’
“The inflation is so big that sometimes today even mathematically there can be advantages to keep a player until the end of a contract.”
Alexis has netted 22 goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season, with the most recent of those seeing Arsenal edge out Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.