0631 GMT January 20, 2018
With Monaco having already refused two offers from Arsenal for Thomas Lemar, Wenger said that a decision had now collectively been reached over Sanchez and that it is for the 28-year-old to help get Arsenal back into the Champions League. “The decision has been made and we will stick to that – the decision is not to sell,” said Wenger, the Telegraph reported.
Arsenal’s stance comes amid renewed interest in Sanchez from Paris Saint Germain and the ongoing desire of Pep Guardiola to sign him for Manchester City.
Wenger’s comments are certain to attract some skepticism – given how he did previously sell Samir 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.
Arsenal’s greater financial strength now certainly makes it easier to say "no" but Wenger also pointed to Sanchez’s age and how he is several years younger than Van Persie in 2012. “Every case is different, Van Persie was going from 30 to 31, when he left he had one year on his contract, Sanchez is younger,” he said.
Sanchez had said on Saturday that he wanted to play in the Champions League, a comment that again supported the clear impression of a player who wants to leave. Wenger, though, still holds out hope that a strong start to the new season might prompt Sanchez to rethink and commit his future during the 2017-18 campaign.
Arsenal’s current stance is likely also to have been influenced by difficulties in advancing any negotiations with Monaco over Lemar or Kylian Mbappe. Although Wenger has signed Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, he is more likely to replace Lucas Perez or Olivier Giroud among the main central strikers. Wenger has been in contact with Sanchez via text message since his involvement in the Confederations Cup with Chile and is ignoring his most recent interview.
“I don’t give too much importance to things that are translated, you know,” said Wenger. “The whole interview that I got didn’t really mean that. The main focus for us is to concentrate on the Premier League and the Premier League for me today is more important than the Champions League.
“We rested sometimes players in the group stages of the Champions League for the Premier League so that’s become the biggest importance for us. 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.”
There must be a concern, though, at how an unhappy Sanchez might influence the training ground environment, especially after his public shows of frustration last season.