Sanchez could defy Wenger on two counts
ALEXIS SANCHEZ, one of the heroes of Arsenal’s promising start to the season, could be about to become its arch-villain by defying Arsene Wenger on two counts.
The star striker is prepared to risk a worrying hamstring injury by playing for Chile in a crucial World Cup qualifier tomorrow.
But even more alarming for the Gunners, he is still refusing to sign a new contract amid rumours that Pep Guardiola would like to spirit him away to Manchester City.
The Gunners forward has been in scintillating form this season with Wenger opting to play him as an out-and-out striker.
A Premier League title charge is well underway with the exBarcelona man up top scoring goals.
However, Sanchez left Wenger worried after suffering another hamstring injury in training on international duty last week.
The Arsenal boss has told Chile it would be “suicidal” to play Sanchez in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.
But according to the Daily Mail, the Gunners star trained for Chile yesterday, appearing to shrug off his problem.
While Arsenal may have been handed a boost over Sanchez shortterm ahead of their showdown with Manchester United this weekend, their long-term prospects are being dealt a blow by the 27-year-old’s reluctance to sign a new deal.
Sanchez missed Chile’s 0-0 draw with Colombia on Thursday and looked set to sit out tomorrow’s match. However, reports in Chile suggest Sanchez has responded well to treatment and could yet play in the game.
Chilean newspaper La Tercera say the 27-year-old will not travel back to England as Arsenal have requested.
And it is said that after staying in Santiago whilst his teammates flew to Colombia, Chile are hopeful that Sanchez could feature against Uruguay.
Gunners boss Wenger would be angry at such a decision, having outlined his concerns about overplaying the former Barcelona man.
“I got a text to say that he has a hamstring injury,” Wenger told bein Sports.
“The team from Chile has travelled without him and they kept him to try and get him fit to play Uruguay for the second game on Tuesday night.
“I believe that with a hamstring injury we have to get access for our medical staff to the MRI scan to see what grade it is, how bad it is and make absolutely sure they don’t make any suicidal decision that could harm his future for two or three months.”
The club have been in contract talks with the attacker since August, according to the Mirror. And Arsenal are looking to keep Sanchez, whose deal expires in 2018, at the Emirates for a further three years.
The winger wants a significant pay rise though, and Express Sport understands between £200,000 and £250,000 (RM1.1 - RM1.35m) a week is being demanded.
Guardiola is keen to bring his former player to the Etihad, with a £50 million (RM275m) battle set to ensue if an extension isn’t agreed.
City would be able to double the Chilean’s wages which would take him out of Arsenal’s league.
The Mirror claim Arsenal will be certain to sell in the summer in order to avoid losing Sanchez for free in 2018. – Agencies