Arsene Wenger concedes the decision to keep Alexis Sanchez could cost Arsenal upwards of £140 million.
After a possible deal between the two clubs fell apart at the transfer deadline, Sanchez was reportedly furious over the move and his future with the Gunners beyond this year is in doubt.
The gamble that Wenger has taken in keeping Sanchez and potentially losing him for nothing is not lost on the manager, as he admitted to beIN sports the decision could cost Arsenal a huge transfer sum — the money he would have brought in and the fee for finding a replacement.
"You take a Sanchez into the final year of his contract, you sacrifice £60-£70m income and at the end of the season you will have to buy somebody for that amount of money," Wenger told beIN Sports.
"It has a huge price so at some stage you have to make a decision, you have to sacrifice one or two."
Wenger attributes the situation to a pair of factors — the natural rise in wages but also a transfer market that has seen fees skyrocket over the past few seasons.
However, the manager sees the situation as difficult to overcome, as it means inflated prices for players who are not difference makers.
"We have today 107 players in England who go into the final year of their contract," Wenger said.
"It's a complete rotation and change in the way people see their career for two reasons.
"One, all the players expect higher wages because they anticipate inflation.
"All the clubs, because the transfer market has gone up so much, the clubs do not want to pay so high prices for all the transfers for players who are good players, but will not change their life.”
Specifically, Wenger singled out Ousmane Dembele’s transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona as an example of how the market drastically changed quickly without much actual change in a player’s ability or development.
"The amount of money is completely disconnected to reality and the truth,” Wenger said.
"One example — no matter how well you work as a football coach, Dembele last year was €15m, this year €150m.
"No matter how well you work on the football pitch, you cannot make a player go from €15m to €150m.
"The calculation between investment and what you can get back, that has gone. It's just, 'can you afford to buy or not?'"