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Wenger claims Sanchez LOVES Arsenal but cannot rule out exit as Gunners face testing week ahead of deadline

Date Posted,August 25, 2017

Arsene Wenger claims Alexis Sanchez loves Arsenal too much to run down his contract by going through the motions.

But the Gunners manager cannot give any assurances the club will make the “financial sacrifice” required to keep Sanchez at the Emirates.

With Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola refusing to rule out a move for the Chilean catalyst, Sanchez is expected to make his first appearance of the season tomorrow at Anfield – where his detention on the bench five months ago backfired badly on Arsenal.

Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are among the players whose contracts expire at Arsenal in 2018.

Wenger is weighing up whether to recommend the £350,000-a-week it might take to keep hold of Sanchez to his board – but until the stand-off is resolved, he remains convinced their top scorer last season with 30 goals cares too much about the club to down tools.

Sanchez is set for a return to action – but could it be at Manchester City? (Image: Arsenal FC/Getty)
Sanchez appears to be enjoying being back in training with Arsenal (Image: Arsenal FC/Getty)
Wenger is confident that Sanchez’s attitude won’t change (Image: David Rogers)

He said: “Alexis wants to play – it is difficult for me to know about other individual cases, but sometimes players have been promised things that have not been kept.

“I can only tell you what happens here – Alexis works hard and he is focused to play.

“What is good is that our mutual interest is that he does well for us. On top of that I deeply feel he loves to be here and he loves the club.

“Yes, he arrives at the age of 28, 29 and he looks at the quality of his contract, but I believe he loves to be here.

City boss Guardiola has not ruled out a move for Sanchez (Image: AFP)
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“In a professional job, I always think that you have to make sure with your commitment that the guy who pays you gets what he is paying you for.

“Alexis is in that mode and I think he will be until the last day he is here – he will give his best.

“You cannot rule anything out. For me, you have a sporting decision and the sport decision is easy: You keep him until the last day of his contract. I don’t consider players’ contractual situation to decide who plays.

“Then you have a compromise to find if you can afford to do it because you lose a lot of money and at the end of the day my decision, which is purely sporting, is easy to make. I want him to stay.

Sanchez has not played competitive football since the Confederations Cup with Chile (Image: PA)
Wenger is waiting to find out where Sanchez’s future lies (Image: PA)

“After that there is, of course, a lot of money involved as well and the club needs to make a financial sacrifice.

“Who has the final say? I have always been followed by the board, but the final say belongs to the board.

“It’s a financial sacrifice for the club and sometimes you have to calculate what you can afford and what you can’t afford.”

So can Arsenal afford it? “I’ll let you know later,” replied Wenger with an enigmatic smile.

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Also available to the Gunners, for the first time this season, is defender Laurent Koscielny, who has completed the three-match ban which ruled him out of the FA Cup final three months ago.

Wenger said: “I think what hurt him a lot was to miss the final. He had a reaction in the final game of the season against Everton that was unlucky.

“He’s a very quiet guy and sometimes he can get rushed because he always thinks he has the pace and speed to win the tackle, and in this case he didn’t.”

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