Arsene Wenger remains confident that Alexis Sanchez will stay at Arsenal for the forthcoming season – despite the player’s comments that he wants to play in the Champions League.
Sanchez has a year remaining on his contract and is wanted by Manchester City. His manager has repeatedly spoken of his desire to keep the playmaker at the Emirates.
However, during a radio interview in his native Chile, Sanchez declared that he wanted to play in the Champions League – a competition the Gunners failed to qualify for with last season’s fifth-placed finish.
The player’s comments are the clearest suggestion yet that he will leave Arsenal.
But Wenger is still of the opinion that Sanchez will stay at the club and is not ruling out the possibility of him signing an extension should things go according to plan this season.
The view at Arsenal is that the player enjoys living in London and can be persuaded to stay. They are determined not to sell Sanchez to a Premier League rival.
Sanchez said: ‘The decision isn’t only mine, but I have already made a decision. Now I’m waiting for Arsenal to reply and tell me what they want.’
Asked to clarify what he wanted, Sanchez added: ‘Playing in the Champions League and to win it. It’s a dream I have had since I was a kid.
‘For now I’m at Arsenal, my contract ends next year.’ Last week, speaking from the Gunners pre-season tour in Australia, Wenger revealed that he had been in text contact with Sanchez throughout the summer.
The club are willing to pay the player £275,000-a-week but remain some distance away from the £400,000 he is seeking.
Arsenal fear the saga may drag on all summer but are prepared to wait for a resolution.