Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed they had "no chance" of keeping Alexis Sanchez and suggested the forward is chasing money by joining Manchester United.
The 29-year-old is expected to finalise his move to Old Trafford in the next 48 hours after apparently undergoing a medical on Sunday, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading to the Gunners in a straight swap deal.
Reports in England have said Sanchez could earn as much as £450,000 a week at United as part of a salary package that even Manchester City refused to match, despite their long-standing interest in the player.
Wenger says he "cannot understand" the decision of a player to leave the Emirates Stadium but believes the money on offer ultimately proved too tempting for the Chile international, who was in the last six months of his Gunners deal.
85 - Since his debut in August 2014, only Harry Kane (108) & Sergio Agüero (100) have had a hand in more Premier League goals than Alexis Sánchez (85 - 60 goals, 25 assists). Omitted. #BOUARS pic.twitter.com/zVma0TtF5r— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 14, 2018
"I cannot understand anybody wanting to leave Arsenal. But, in 30 years of doing transfers, you learn a lot about human beings," Wenger said.
"As a professional, it was perhaps his last contract at the top level and an important contract. After that, I accept that because we accepted that we would let him go. After that, we analyse the pros and the cons.
"We did what we tried to do and went as far as we could. Even Manchester City moved out of it in the end. That tells you we had no chance to give him a contract.
"We have tried to find the best possible solution and the best possible solution is that we lose a world class player – I don't deny that at all – but we did not lose him without getting somebody after. The future will tell if it was the right decision or not.
"It is not that we are only losing a player, we are gaining a player as well. And we are still active in the transfer market and trying to bring players in."
Wenger also admitted the uncertainty over Sanchez's future has taken its toll on the rest of the squad this season.
"There are periods when the atmosphere is less enjoyable than others," he said. "It is the lack of clarity. It is not losing players – teams are used to losing players. But it is the fact that you have uncertainty in the group – that they don’t know if he will be here or not.
"Once it is clear, the team gets used to it."
Never give up !!! pic.twitter.com/aKG6gNCpTV— Alexandre Lacazette (@LacazetteAlex) January 20, 2018
With Mkhitaryan arriving and a pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in progress, Arsenal could end the transfer window in a strong position despite the loss of Sanchez.
Questions have been raised about how Aubameyang will fit into the side alongside record signing Alexandre Lacazette, but Wenger appears to have no such concerns.
"How do I fit them in? I just play the good players. They can always play together," he said.
|Mendy: France are eyeing World Cup glory|
|Scott accepts two-week ban for Walker punch|
|Braves rally for six runs in the ninth to defeat Marlins|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls upstage Atlanta thanks to Wright-Phillips brace|
|Warriors breeze past Rockets in game three|
|We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market|
|Wise cruises to maiden PGA Tour victory at Byron Nelson|
|Matic: United can fight for Premier League and Champions League with experience|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|I did a ´s*** job´ defending LeBron James – Morris|
|Dembele suffers sprained right ankle|
|We know Fellaini´s not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move|
|Cavs´ Lue not satisfied with just one win|
|They even whistled at Torres – Simeone backs Griezmann|
|I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell|
|Lingard: Wembley loss my worst feeling in football|
|Cahill: Conte uncertainty affecting Chelsea|
|Sarri has run out of time – Napoli chief De Laurentiis|
|Barca boss Valverde salutes departing Iniesta|
|I feel like I´ve been run over by a truck or had 15 pints - Crutchlow|
|Four sent off as Ajaccio win chaotic Le Havre play-off on penalties|
|Sweden win shoot-out to retain world title|
|De Vrij penalty was destiny for Inter - Icardi|
|PSG? Maybe one day - Pogba coy over long-term future at Manchester United|
|Messi wins fifth European Golden Shoe|
|Gattuso calls for more malice at Milan|
|Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 0: Coutinho stunner lights up Iniesta´s farewell|
|Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti´s men seal Champions League qualification with stunning comeback|
|Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short|
|Nadal sees clearly after Rome rain is gone|
|Double whammy for Zverevs as Mischa bows out in Geneva|
|Atletico Madrid pay fitting tribute to tearful Torres|
|Hull FC claim derby spoils, Dragons off the bottom|
|Buzarnescu battles through as McHale impresses in Nuremberg|
|Neymar an artist who will not need special treatment - new PSG coach Tuchel|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Eibar 2: Torres bows out with a double|
|Napoli 2 Crotone 1: Milik and Callejon condemn visitors to the drop|
|Iniesta starts on Barcelona goodbye but Messi rested|
|Nadal rallies after rain break to dethrone Zverev in Rome|
|AC Milan 5 Fiorentina 1: Cutrone brace secures Europa League group stage spot|
|I think I made a fantastic decision - Garoppolo key to Sherman joining 49ers|
|FIFPro appeals to FIFA over Guerrero World Cup ban|
|Neymar made mistake joining PSG - Rivaldo|
|Simple for Simon as outstanding Yates extends Giro advantage|
|Ulster qualify for Champions Cup as Biggar makes history|
|Neymar tired of rumours and staying at PSG, president Al-Khelaifi claims|
|Beaten Halep calms injury concerns ahead of French Open|
|Van der Vaart´s Midtjylland nightmare set to end|
|It has been a crazy ride - Klopp proud of Liverpool ahead of Champions League showdown|
|Raonic pulls out of French Open|
|Liverpool youngster Alexander-Arnold not overwhelmed by England call-up|
|Torres captains Atletico Madrid on farewell|
|Otaegui claims second European Tour win at Belgian Knockout|
|Green: Warriors play best when we feel threatened|
|Daredevils dump out defending IPL champions Mumbai|
|Fan shows off Monk face tattoo on bottom|
|Bayern Munich chief Hoeness rules out spending spree|
|Fury to take on Albanian Seferi in Manchester next month|
|Mourinho mind games won´t distract from Manchester United´s paused progress|
|My motivation is intact - Ranieri open to offers following Nantes exit|
|Shields would probably have made All Blacks squad - Hansen|
|Willian fuels rift talk by hiding Conte with emojis in cup photo|
|Marquez extends lead at Le Mans as Dovizioso crashes again|
|Top-six mentality a boost to England´s World Cup hopes – Southgate|
|Dominant Svitolina retains in Rome as Halep sustains injury scare|
|I´d play for free! - Fifita desperate for State of Origin call-up|
|Plea satisfied with Nice exit as big changes beckon|
|Boateng open to leaving Bayern for move abroad|
|Napoli slam ´shameful and offensive´ Juventus celebrations|
|Red Star´s open-top bus goes up in flames|