As rumours continue to swirl surrounding Alexis Sanchez’s future, Arsene Wenger has been very clear that the Chilean is not for sale. But there’s a problem. He has taken that stance on countless occasions in previous windows, and each time Arsenal have eventually buckled.

The Gunners’ pre-season tour of Australia and China has seen Wenger resume media duties, and he has frequently been asked about Sanchez. The message has been clear from the Frenchman: ‘The decision has been made and we will stick to that. The decision is not to sell.’

Man City are still hopeful of signing Sanchez, while he allegedly met with PSG officials in Paris (Picture: Getty)

Yet French media are reporting that Sanchez has already agreed a four-year deal with PSG, while Manchester City have successfully lured five previous Arsenal players to the Etihad and the Pep Guardiola factor could make it a sixth.

The problem for Arsenal fans is that Wenger has a record for committing to keeping players only to sell them, sometimes even just days after making his promise. Even the phrases Wenger has used in reference to Sanchez – ‘It’s only media imagination’ – have been uttered about previous players who were later sold.

So can we truly trust what Wenger says, or do his actions speak louder than words? You be the judge…

THIERRY HENRY

Wenger insisted Henry would not be sold a matter of days before he joined Barca (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
June 13, 2007: ‘It is more down to imagination than anything else, Thierry Henry will be here next year. Can I guarantee that? Yes, of course.’

June 25, 2007: Joins Barcelona for £16.1m

Wenger was adamant that Henry would remain an Arsenal player, even describing Barcelona’s interest as made up – exactly as he has done with Sanchez now. But within two weeks of those remarks the French striker was holding up a blue and red shirt. A few days later Eduardo joined from Dinamo Zagreb, but while the Croatian scored seven league goals in his entire Arsenal career, Henry topscored for Barca in his first season and won the Champions League in his second.

EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR

Plenty of Arsenal fans were happy to see the back of Adebayor, though Wenger said he would not leave (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
June 3, 2009: ‘If he does not want to stay, he will leave but I think that he will be still at Arsenal this season.’

July 18, 2009: Joins Manchester City for £25m

Wenger held onto Adebayor after he hit 30 goals in a single season, despite interest from the likes of AC Milan, though an indifferent campaign followed. The French coach was clearly more willing to offload the Togolese forward a year later, and, in this instance, his comments about still having Adebayor in his plans seemed designed to extract maximum value for the striker rather than giving away the fact that he was happy to sell.

SAMIR NASRI

Wenger tried everything to keep Nasri at Arsenal, yet still he ended up at Man City (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
July 11, 2011: ‘Will [Nasri] be at the club next season? I say yes. There is always speculation when a player has only one contract year to go and has not signed a new contract that he might leave the club. But Samir Nasri is very happy at the club and is committed to staying at the club.’

July 13, 2011: ‘We will do everything to keep Nasri at the club. My wish is that he stays here.’

August 24, 2011: Joins Manchester City for £24m.

The summer of 2011 was a miserable one for Wenger. Nasri and Clichy were coming to the ends of their contracts and were garnering interest from Man City, while Barcelona once again resumed their pursuit of Fabregas. Wenger was always fighting a losing battle as far as the latter was concerned, but Nasri was seen as the heir to the Spaniard’s creative throne and his decision to move to a side that had not finished higher than third in the Premier League really grated.

CESC FABREGAS

Wenger was sure Fabregas’ love for Arsenal would keep him at the club, though Barca turned his head regardless (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
July 11, 2011: ‘Cesc loves the club and hopefully we will manage. We know that this story for Barcelona has gone on for years now, we have to close that and focus on the season, hopefully with Cesc Fabregas.’

July 13, 2011: ‘I will be pretty clear about this. For me, Fabregas is with Arsenal for a long time and he will stay with Arsenal. It sometimes happens that the rumour can make the transfer.’

August 15, 2011: Joins Barcelona for £35m.

Wenger put up a good fight to keep Fabregas, only finally selling when the Premier League season had already begun. This move always felt inevitable, though, even if Wenger didn’t think that way. Barcelona’s interest was significant and long-standing, while Fabregas – with a little bit of persuading from the likes of Spanish teammate Gerard Pique – was adamant that he wanted to return to Barcelona. In the end, Wenger could not stand in his way.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE

Despite planning his side around having Van Persie, Wenger accepted Man Utd’s offer (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
March 8, 2012: ‘Our plan is to keep Robin van Persie, even if we buy a player. Robin is the leader of our club. He is under contract until 2013.’

August 17, 2012: Joins Manchester United for £22m.

The Van Persie saga is often cited as the most recent example of Wenger not staying true to his transfer pledges. The Frenchman claims this situation was different from Sanchez, though his comments have incorrectly cited Van Persie as being on the verge of turning 31 when he joined United, when in reality he had just turned 29 – and was only five months older than Sanchez is now. Ultimately, Arsenal had to cash in, but back then they already had Champions League football. Now, Alexis could be worth more to the Gunners by firing them back to the top four, even if he leaves for free next summer.

BACARY SAGNA

Sagna had been pushing for a move for two years before he finally left as Wenger showed his stubbornness (Picture: Getty)

What Wenger said v what actually happened
February 22, 2013: ‘Our desire is to keep Bacary Sagna and he knows that. We will sit down with him and we did already sit down with his agent, and we didn’t get that [negative] vibe out. He is not free in the summer so he can only leave if we let him go.’

June 13, 2014: Joins Manchester City on a free transfer.

The Sagna deal provides the most hope for Arsenal fans. Back in 2012, he was giving interviews criticising the club’s decision to sell Van Persie and seemed to be angling for a move as his contract ran down. But Wenger said he would not be sold and never changed that stance, even though it saw Arsenal sacrifice a transfer fee as Sagna moved to Man City on a free transfer two years after he had first got itchy feet.

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