Arsenal will not sell Alexis Sanchez for 'sporting' reasons
Arsene Wenger will not sell and is prepared to risk losing the player on a free transfer next summer
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Alexis Sanchez to quit Arsenal and join Neymar at PSG
Alexis Sanchez missed sat out the Emirates Cup at the weekend with what Arsene Wenger described as "flu" but he could soon be feeling better if the Daily Express is to be believed. The paper says that Paris Saint-Germain will make a £35m bid for the Arsenal frontman "as soon as they have smashed the world transfer record to sign Neymar".
The weekend papers were full of stories linking the Barcelona superstar to the French club in what will be a record-breaking deal but it seems that PSG have got some serious money to burn. Having prised Neymar from Barca by triggering his £200m release clause, they will then make a play for Sanchez who should have trained with the Arsenal squad on Sunday.
Instead, says the Express, he "will seek showdown talks" with Wenger and tell him that he wants out of the Emirates. Wenger was asked about his unsettled South American star at the weekend and told reporters he was poorly but "he is staying, of course".
Not so, says the Express, which claims that while Arsenal are adamant they won't sell Sanchez to Premier League rivals Manchester City they will be prepared to offload him to PSG provided they up their offer from £35m to £50m.
Asked after Arsenal had won the Emirates Cup on Sunday, Wenger was asked if it wasn't a little unsettling to have Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and six other players entering the final season of their contracts given it will lead only to more transfer speculation. "I think it’s an ideal situation because everyone has to perform," said the Frenchman. "I think in the future you will see it more and more. Why? Because the transfers are so high even for normal players, you will see more and more players going into the final year of the contract because no club will want to pay the amount demanded. I’m convinced in the next ten years it will become usual."
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror says that Sanchez isn't the only Gunner likely to be off in the near future with Lucas Perez edging closer to an exit after Deportivo La Coruna tabled a £9m bid for their former striker. Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle, Perez's agent, arrived in London at the weekend for talks with his client, and asked about the situation he replied: "Arsenal know we want to go and that there are no opportunities here."
Alexis Sanchez returns to Arsenal training this weekend
The future of Alexis Sanchez remains uncertain but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears unconcerned and clearly expects the Chilean frontman to spearhead the Gunners attack this season.
In conversation with the Arsenal website, the French gaffer was asked about Sanchez and defender Shkodran Mustafi, who were absentees from the tour to Australia and the Far East because of their involvement in the Confederations Cup.
"Alexis and Mustafi, their first training session will be on Sunday, the day we play against Sevilla [in the Emirates Cup]," said Wenger. "They are practising on the day.
Sanchez has been linked with Manchester City in recent weeks but Wenger talked about his star striker as if these rumours never existed. "First of all you make a really good check up of where they are, how much they have worked during their break," he said of the returning duo.
"After, once you know where you stand, they need an adjusted programme and to see how quickly you can fit them in again... all of these things together make your decision. Do you put them on the bench when they are not ready [to start]? It is easier to put a striker on the bench than a defender, sometimes. Because in a short period they can make an impact. We’ll see."
Meanwhile rumours of the imminent departure from Real Madrid of Karim Benzema seem somewhat premature, at least if the Daily Express is to be believed. It claims that the French striker is not Arsenal-bound but will in fact sign a new deal in the coming days to keep him in the Spanish capital. It was claimed at the start of the week that Benzema would be sold to make room for Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe, who is heavily linked with Real, but Spanish rag Marca claims that the Gallic goalscorer "is set to sign a new deal that takes him to either the end of the 2021 or 2022 season".
Alexis Sanchez still wants to quit Arsenal after Wenger rant
The Alexis Sanchez soap opera rumbles on and he remains determined to quit Arsenal despite Arsene Wenger’s insistence that he is going nowhere.
Wenger seems increasingly irritated by the situation and yesterday attempted to draw a line under the rumours surrounding his star player by saying: “The decision has been made and we will stick to that. The decision is not to sell.
"We played 20 years in the Champions League. That’s 17 years before Sanchez arrived and three years with him, so he can get us back in there.”
But Metro, citing Chilean rag El Mercurio as its source, claims that City boss Pep Guardiola has been in contact with Sanchez and has given the Chile international "a mission" that, rather unfairly, involves the forward convincing Wenger that a sale would be the best outcome.
City are ready to pay £50m for Sanchez, who has stated his desire to play Champions League next season, something Arsenal cannot offer.
The Gunners risk losing him for free next year if he refuses to extend his current contract.
It’s all cloak and dagger stuff as a source close to the Chile international told El Mercurio: “Guardiola is looking forward to the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. He has already spoken to the player on more than one occasion.”
It’s understood that City is Sanchez’s preferred destination as it would allow him to link up with Guardiola once again after their time together at Barcelona.
Wenger will turn his attentions to Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema if Sanchez does leave.
The Daily Star, citing Spanish gossip outlet Don Balon as its source, says Wenger was ready to offer £53m this time last year for Benzema and he still wants the France international.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Gunners are hoping to beat Manchester United to the signing of Feyenoord teen sensation Joshua Zirkzee.
The Holland under-16 striker scored 33 goals in 27 games last season. Ajax have already failed in an attempt to lure him to their academy and he is pondering a move to England.
Wenger refuses to let Alexis Sanchez leave Arsenal
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has lost patience with Alexis Sanchez and publicly told him that if he is so desperate to play in the Champions League, he should knuckle down and help the Gunners get back into the competition.
His outburst comes amid rumours of renewed interest in the Chilean from Paris Saint-Germain and after an interview in which the player restated his desire to play in Europe's top club competition.
Manchester City are also said to be keen to sign the 28-year-old, who has one year left on his contract and has so far refused to sign an extension.
But Wenger has now confirmed he will not sell the forward this summer, even though he could leave on a free transfer in 2018 if his contract is allowed to expire.
Speaking ahead of a friendly against Bayern Munich in China, Wenger made it clear he was in no mood to be trifled with.
"The decision has been made and we will stick to that - the decision is not to sell," he said.
"We have played for 20 years in the Champions League. That's 17 years before Sanchez arrived and three years with him. So he can get us back in there.
"When you play in the Champions League, everyone says, 'Is that all you do?' Suddenly, when you don't play in there, it becomes a major problem."
Sanchez, who is resting after playing for Chile in the Confederations Cup and not on tour with the Gunners, has made it clear he wants to play Champions League football, but his stance has "clearly irked" Wenger, says John Cross in the Daily Mirror.
The manager's refusal to sell may also be linked to his inability to land a natural replacement. Attempts to sign Thomas Lemar or, more ambitiously, Kylian Mbappe from Monaco have failed to bear fruit, says Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph.
"Wenger's comments are certain to attract some scepticism – given how he did previously sell Samri Nasri and Robin van Persie rather than let them enter the final year of their contracts – but he is adamant that the Sanchez situation is different," he adds.
However, forcing the player to stay is a "gamble", continues Wilson. There must be concerns "at how an unhappy Sanchez might influence the training ground environment" and the risk "would also be compounded if Arsenal are unable to persuade either Mesut Ozil or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to sign new contracts".
If that happened, the Gunners could lose three major stars for free next summer.