Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wouldn’t completely close the door on a January move for Alexis Sanchez, and again called on referees to protect players after Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne were injured in Sunday’s draw at Crystal Palace.
Both Gabriel and De Bruyne face tests to determine the extent of the injuries picked up in game that also saw Palace’s Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon leave the pitch on stretchers.
The injuries could speed up a move for Arsenal attacker Sanchez, who was close to joining City in the summer.
Sanchez is available on a free transfer at the end of the season and sources have told ESPN FC that he would favour a move to City.
Asked whether City will make a move when the transfer window reopens on Jan. 1, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. He is a player for Arsenal and I think he is going to stay there.
We will have internal meetings and see what is for the best, but he is an Arsenal player and I think he will be [after January].”
Referee Jon Moss had initially refused to allow medical staff to come onto the pitch to give Gabriel treatment shortly after he hurt his knee trying to control a ball.
The Brazil international now faces “one or two months out,” according to Guardiola.
De Bruyne was stretchered off after a strong tackle from Puncheon, but was seen walking back to the City dressing room accompanied by two medical staff and told reporters he was OK.
Puncheon was booked for his tackle on De Bruyne, in which he also injured himself, but could easily have been given a straight red card.
Guardiola has voiced unhappiness at some challenges on his players in recent weeks, citing poor tackles from Tottenham’s Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Dele Alli and another from Newcastle United’s Jacob Murphy.
“We were lucky against Tottenham and against Newcastle. Today we were not lucky,” he said.
“Referees have to protect. We know how strong physically it is in England but teams miss big players, not just Manchester City.
“The replay [of the Puncheon challenge] speaks for itself. We have to protect players.”