Arsene Wenger says the decision to sell or keep Alexis Sanchez is his alone and he is willing to risk him leaving for nothing.
The Gunners boss is expected to play hard-ball with Sanchez as he does not want to lose his talisman to Premier League rivals Manchester City.
In the past Wenger has been powerless to turn down City’s millions for the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure as Arsenal were paying off the building costs of the Emirates Stadium.
Now they have no such financial obligations and Wenger has reiterated he would rather Sanchez walk away for free next year when his contract is up than sell him now.
Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Monaco have also been linked with the Chile international, who cut a frustrated figure at times last season as Arsenal finished fifth.
Losing Sanchez without a fee would be seen as a huge loss for a player who could command a huge price-tag even in the final year of his contract.
But Wenger says the decision is in his hands and he wants to keep the player at the club for the forthcoming season.
“Yes, the board supports me to make the decisions on a technical front,” Wenger replied when asked if he had 100 per cent backing from the board to decide who comes and who leaves.
“I can tell you is that he is focused, and my decision is clear: he will stay and he will respect that. It is as simple as that.
“Every negotiation has to be a little bit secret. The transparency of society is very pushy but we have to resist a little bit, as much as we can. I think he will be here this season, and if we can do it for more seasons we will do it as well.”