Wenger said that, if Sánchez left, he had been assured Arsenal would replace him. His No 1 target is the Bordeaux winger Malcom and a deal for him is believed to be close. A meeting to discuss personal terms with the Brazilian’s representatives took place in France on Sunday, with Arsenal expected to pay £45m for the 20-year-old.

“I would say as well we haven’t created enough with the possession we had. We looked a bit lacklustre in the final third, not sharp enough to create chances. We did not look dangerous enough. It’s very frustrating.

“I cannot say that the team hasn’t worked or not played with a good spirit. They were focused. The attitude is one thing but, at that level, it’s a combination of quality and attitude and today, I question more the quality of what we have created than the attitude of the players. The attitude of the players was strong.”

Sánchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, is due in England for negotiations and Wenger made it clear the saga had entered its end game.

“We made the most difficult part and we were 1-0 up,” Wenger said. “And after that we made two very surprising mistakes, not even forced errors. It was just a lack of the right decision-making. Overall we come out of the game and you think: ‘How did we lose the game?’

United have indicated a readiness to outbid Manchester City for Sánchez and to offer him more lucrative personal terms, and they have turned the 29-year-old’s head. He had looked certain to join City and enjoy a reunion with Pep Guardiola, the manager under whom he played for one season at Barcelona.

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