Arsene Wenger on Wednesday revealed that in his determination to ensure Alexis Sanchez doesn’t leave Arsenal in the current transfer window he was ready to let the Chilean walk out on a free transfer next summer.

“We have not progressed on that (Sanchez signing a new contract) front,” Wenger said at a press conference in London.

The Chilean, who turns 29 in December, has repeatedly stated his desire to move away from the Emirates in the summer and is in the final year of his contract. Ideally, he would have a plethora of suitors for his signature, but with Arsenal reportedly not accepting any offer less than £80 million, interest in the winger has cooled in recent weeks.

When asked whether he was really willing to let Alexis leave for free next summer, Wenger replied,“That is a consequence of what I say, yes, unfortunately. But we have to make a choice between efficiency on the field and financial interest and most of the time if you can find a good compromise, it’s better”.

The 67-year-old added that Arsenal’s tie with Stoke City on Saturday will come too soon for Sanchez, who is suffering from an abdominal injury, and fans are likely to see the 28-year-old feature in some capacity against Liverpool on 27 August.

There was good news for Arsenal fans, however, as Wenger confirmed that the trio of Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi and Francis Coquelin will be in the match day squad for the Stoke tie.