Sanchez ex­pected to hit Wenger with trans­fer re­quest

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

ALEXIS Sanchez will not re­turn to Ar­se­nal un­til to­mor­row af­ter be­ing given an ad­di­tional two days off to re­cover from flu, but man­ager Arsene Wenger could find him­self look­ing at a trans­fer re­quest from the for­ward im­me­di­ately upon his ar­rival.

Wenger con­firmed on Sat­ur­day evening that Sanchez, who was orig­i­nally due back for train­ing yes­ter­day , will not re­port at the club’s Lon­don Col­ney train­ing base un­til to­mor­row.

The 28-year-old posted a pic­ture on his In­sta­gram page on Fri­day to re­veal that he was suf­fer­ing from sick­ness, although given that he is cur­rently try­ing to leave the club af­ter turn­ing down Ar­se­nal’s at­tempts to ex­tend his con­tract be­yond the end of next sea­son, plenty of doubt was cast over the sever­ity of his ill­ness.

How­ever, fol­low­ing Ar­se­nal’s 5-2 vic­tory over Ben­fica in the Emi­rates Cup on Sat­ur­day, Wenger con­firmed the club are aware of his ill­ness and have given the Chilean some ex­tra time off to fully re­cover from a bout of flu and re­duce the chances of it spread­ing among the squad.

“He has flu, yes. I had him on text yes­ter­day,” said Wenger. “There’s no de­vel­op­ment – he is stay­ing, of course.”

How­ever, that could all change to­mor­row when Sanchez fi­nally re­turns – just five days be­fore Ar­se­nal face Chelsea in the Com­mu­nity Shield – with The Mir­ror re­port­ing that he is con­sid­er­ing hand­ing in a trans­fer re­quest to try and force through a move to Manch­ester City.

Pep Guardi­ola is a known fan of Sanchez, hav­ing worked with him at Barcelona, and City are be­lieved to be will­ing to of­fer Sanchez as much as £400,000-a-week in or­der to lure him away from the Emi­rates. With just one year re­main­ing on his con­tract, Sanchez could choose to wait un­til the sum­mer of 2018 in or­der to leave Ar­se­nal on a free trans­fer, although a re­quest to leave this sum­mer would open the door to an early exit and a po­ten­tial £50m sale for Ar­se­nal. Sanchez is not the only Ar­se­nal player with fewer than 12 months re­main­ing on his con­tract. Me­sut Özil, Jack Wil­shere, Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain and Kieran Gibbs have all en­tered their fi­nal year of their cur­rent deals, mean­ing Ar­se­nal could lose as many as five first-team play­ers next sum­mer for noth­ing, which would prove a mas­sive blow to them both fi­nan­cially and com­pet­i­tively on the pitch.

But Wenger was keen to play down the im­por­tance of ty­ing that quin­tet down to a new deal, and in­sisted that it is a prob­lem for him to worry about rather than the play­ers them­selves.

“The play­ers who have one year of their con­tract have to re­spect their con­tract and play out their con­tract,” Wenger said.

“For a man­ager, it’s a bit dif­fer­ent be­cause it con­cerns more what is the fu­ture of the club.

“The play­ers were think­ing, ‘What’s go­ing on and what’s hap­pen­ing?’, so it cre­ates un­cer­tainty [with my con­tract] be­cause it’s a global pol­icy.

“I am re­spon­si­ble for the global pol­icy of the club but for the play­ers it is dif­fer­ent.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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