WENGER NOT WOR­RIED

Sanchez saga won’t ruin Gun­ners, in­sists Ar­se­nal man­ager

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ARSENE Wenger in­sists the Alexis Sanchez trans­fer saga won’t be a dis­trac­tion to Ar­se­nal this sea­son de­spite the Chile for­ward’s re­fusal to sign a new con­tract.

Sanchez is out of con­tract at the end of the forth­com­ing sea­son and he has shown no signs of ac­cept­ing Ar­se­nal’s of­fer of a lu­cra­tive new deal as he tries to en­gi­neer a trans­fer to a club in the Cham­pi­ons League.

Manch­ester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint Ger­main, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Ju­ven­tus have all been linked with Sanchez, but Wenger ap­pears de­ter­mined to hold onto the 28-year-old for the last year of his deal in the hope he can per­suade him to stay for the long-term.

Ar­se­nal mid­field­ers Me­sut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain are also in the fi­nal years of their con­tracts, yet when Wenger was asked if he was con­cerned, he made it clear he ex­pects his play­ers to stay com­mit­ted.

“When you are a player you per­form un­til the last day of the con­tract. Do you re­ally think you sit in the dress­ing room be­fore a game and say ‘oh I’ve only got a year to go on my con­tract so I won’t play well’,” Wenger said.

“If that was true we would sign ev­ery­body for 20 years. I’m not con­vinced the length of the con­tract has any im­pact on the per­for­mance.

“I am amazed that you are sur­prised by that. It’s an ideal sit­u­a­tion. Ev­ery­body has to per­form.”

In the past, Wenger has sold the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Per­sie to avoid los­ing them for free when their con­tracts ex­pired.

This time, Wenger is stub­bornly stick­ing to his guns over Sanchez and, against all the ev­i­dence, the Gun­ners boss even claimed it was a good po­si­tion for player and club to have only one year left.

“In the fu­ture you will see it more and more, play­ers go­ing to the end of the con­tract. Why? Be­cause trans­fers are so high even for nor­mal play­ers. No­body will want to pay those fees,” he said.

“No­body knows if Sanchez will ex­tend his con­tract here. What can I do about that? One day he will go and Ar­se­nal will go on.

“Of course I think he will stay. How many times do I have to tell you?”

For the mo­ment, Wenger has to do with­out Sanchez be­cause the for­ward has de­layed his re­turn to train­ing af­ter go­ing down with the flu.

Sanchez has yet to fea­ture in any of Ar­se­nal’s pre-sea­son friendlies, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 2-1 de­feat against Sevilla in the Emi­rates Cup be­cause he was rest­ing af­ter Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup duty.

His lack of match ac­tion means he is a doubt to fea­ture in next week­end’s Com­mu­nity Shield against Chelsea and pos­si­bly Ar­se­nal’s Premier League opener against Le­ices­ter on Au­gust 11.

Arsene Wenger (right) is de­ter­mined to keep his star player Alexis Sanchez.

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