ALEXIS SANCHEZ & WENGER RELATIONSHIP WORSENS AS CHILEAN IS SET TO LEAVE ARSENAL COME SUMMER
Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal will decide when Alexis Sanchez leaves instead of the player after the pair were involved in an angry bust-up that led to him being dropped for the 3-1 defeat by Liverpool.
Sanchez started on the bench by Arsene Wenger for Saturday’s Anfield defeat following a bust-up last week, but shook hands with his manager during a session at London Colney on Monday.
The Arsenal squad were put through their paces ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League return leg with Bayern Munich fresh from the fall-out that followed Sanchez’s sensational demotion to the bench.
As REPORTS exclusively revealed on Sunday, the Chile star is now intent on leaving Arsenal at the end of the season following the humiliation of starting among the substitues.
But Wenger insists Arsenal will decide how long he remains their player: ‘Alexis Sanchez has 15 months on his contract so the decision on whether he will be there will depend on Arsenal Football Club, not anyone else. Football is down to mo
ore than just one player.’
The Frenchman said of the incident with Sanchez: ‘I am not aware, nothing at all.
e then repeated his claim from Saturday that Sanchez was dropped purely for tactical reasons: ‘I explained after the game I decided to go for a more direct option, that was the unique reason for my decision.’
Asked if he and Sanchez did fall out, Wenger responded: ‘Completely false. I understand you have to fill newspapers.’
He refused to answer either way on whether Sanchez will start at the Emirates Stadium on Tues
I haven’t decided yet, I think I will make my decision from tomorrow morning,’ he added.
‘The definition of what is a happy person is hard to define. A happy person on the football field is one who comes out and wins the game and plays well. I hope he’s happy tomorrow night.’
Sanchez posted a defiant message on Instagram on Monday, saying: ‘The true warrior fights not because he hates the ones in front of him, but because he loves those behind him. Let’s go Gunners. The only failure is not trying.’
Sanchez was belatedly introduced at half-time by Wenger on Saturday, with the Gunners already 2-0 down. Though he assisted Danny Welbeck’s goal on 57 minutes, the game finished 3-1 to Liverpool.
Sources say that the Frenchman is unimpressed by Sanchez’s attitude, particularly his behaviour in the 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich last month.
The 28-year-old publicly berated his team-mates in the Allianz Arena and he continued to point the finger in the dressing room after the game.
His fellow players have noticed Sanchez has become more distant in recent weeks, with Wenger and his staff unhappy with his attitude at the training ground since the debacle in Munich.
Wenger took questions on Sanchez as he spoke ahead of the home clash with Bayern.
Sanchez walked out in the middle of a training session last week and was confronted by angry team-mates afterwards.
Wenger’s patience with Sanchez cracked as a result, though he insists he left out his leading goalscorer for purely tactical reasons at Anfield.
The manager has spoken privately to the player over his behaviour, as he looks set to end his three-year stay at the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus will bid for the forward, who has rejected Arsenal’s offer of a new deal worth £180,000 a week. PSG are willing to pay him £300,000 a week.
Defeat by Liverpool on Saturday pushed Arsenal out of the top four. Goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum consigned the Gunners to a third defeat in four league matches.
Wenger now faces a battle to ensure his proud record of qualifying for the Champions League every year since 1998 remains intact, with the Gunners two points outside the top four but with a game in hand.
Arsenal, though, look certain to exit this year’s competition at the last-16 stage for the seventh year in a row following their 5-1 first-leg defeat in Munich.
The Frenchman will be boosted, however, by the return of Mesut Ozil to training on Monday following his absence from the Liverpool defeat due to a virus.