Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez was not left out of the lineup for Arsenal‘s Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea due to links with Manchester City, and hopes the Chile forward stays at Emirates Stadium for a long time to come.
Rumors have been confirmed true that Arsenal and Manchester City are now in talks over a January move for the Chile international.
But Wenger seems to be against this move.
“No, the team selection had nothing to do with the transfer market,” he told a post-match news conference. “I have not to justify every decision I make, you know. I made over 1000 games and over 1000 teams and I got it every time wrong, but I have to make a decision.”
Asked whether he expected Sanchez to remain at Arsenal, Wenger replied, “Yes, that is what I want, I want him to stay for longer because I believe he is a very important player for us and I believe that when he came on tonight you could see that he created danger straight away. You have to accept as well when you play so many games, and Sanchez plays every game, that sometimes a breather in the middle of the season helps them a little bit. People don’t know Alexis well – this is a guy who is completely focused to play football. Have you seen how he came on today, how he warmed up? Like a player who wants to play football. He can make a difference between what’s going on outside and what’s happening. We live with facts, not with psychological theories and the fact is when you turn out on the pitch you play football and you give 100 per cent. That’s what he does.”
Wenger expressed regret over letting the issue of his own contract status at Emirates Stadium linger over last season’s campaign but he would have no issue if Sanchez does not sign a fresh deal this month and remains in the English capital.
“Look, I have no problem if he signs now or in June,” he added. “What is important for me is the next game and that you can rely on him. The only thing I want to say is the performance of Alexis and the commitment does not depend on the duration of his contract, it just depends on the fact that when he’s on the pitch he wants to play.”