Arsène Wenger: Alexis Sánchez is going nowhere
The Gunners boss was defiant after his side crushed Benfica 5-2 about the Chile international's future: "He is staying, of course."
Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger reiterated the club’s stance on Alexis Sánchez after his side cruised to a friendly win over Benfica and rubbished claims the unsettled Chile international's dose of the flu was part of a plan to engineer a transfer.
Sánchez has just one year left on his Arsenal contract after refusing to sign the club's offer of a new deal and it is believed the Chile forward wants to move to a team in the Champions League.
Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus are all interested in the 28-year-old, who has yet to return to pre-season training with Arsenal as he recovers after playing for Chile at the Confederations Cup.
Sánchez was due back at Arsenal on Sunday, but his return to England has been delayed by at least 48 hours after he caught the flu, revealing the illness with an social media picture of himself huddled under a blanket with the caption 'sick'.
Some cynical Arsenal fans fear Sánchez's failure to report on time is part of his plan to leave the Premier League club.
But Gunners boss Wenger, speaking after his side's 5-2 thrashing of Benfica in the Emirates Cup on Saturday, made it clear Sánchez will not be sold.
Wenger: "Your job is to be suspicious"
"No development, always the same, He is staying, of course," Wenger said.
Asked how he read Sánchez's delayed arrival, Wenger refused to criticise his player.
"He has flu. He texted me to say he will come back as soon as possible. We are in touch with him and his doctor," he said. "Your job is to be suspicious, your job is built on mistrust and mine is built on trust, that is why I prefer my side.
"There is no basic problem. He would have come back tomorrow but he will be here on Tuesday. He is flying back as soon as he is in a position to."
Wenger insisted the uncertainty over Sánchez's future wouldn't prove a distraction in the same way speculation over the manager's contract caused such chaos before he signed a new deal at the end of last season.
Wenger on Sánchez: "Players have to respect their contract"
"It's not the same. It's different with a manager who has to take a global view of the club. I think the players who have one year on their contract have to respect their contract and play under it," he said.
Probed on whether Sánchez had personally told him whether or not he wanted to stay, Wenger added: "I cannot reveal to you what he says to me always. It is a secret conversation. I speak to all the players."
Wenger also refused to say if he would make another bid for £50 million-rated Monaco winger Thomas Lemar after having several offers rejected.
"We don't speak about how our negotiations go. We come out once it's done or not done," he said. "We are active in the transfer market in general. At the moment there is nothing special to say on this case."
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