Alexis Sánchez has spoken for the first time about his future at Arsenal but, in the space of a few sound-bites at a brief promotional appearance in Chile, he managed to raise more questions than answers.
The Chile forward has grown frustrated at the lack of progress at Arsenal and he is expected to leave the club in the summer, when his contract would have just 12 months to run. He has put talks over fresh terms on a new deal on hold until the end of the season.
Sánchez has a clutch of high-profile suitors, including Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Internazionale, and he is seeking virtually to double his existing weekly wage of £130,000.
The 28-year-old, who has scored 22 goals for Arsenal this season – 18 of them in the Premier League – was speaking in Santiago, at the launch of Huawei’s latest mobile phone; a brand for which he is an ambassador. The forward had been back in Chile on international duty.
On the issue of his future Sánchez said: “I’m happy in London and I want to finish my contract. That’s what I want. I like to stay in one place, one city, where the team fights for titles.”
The on-stage interviewer then joked that he could move to Chelsea. It was a light-hearted moment and Sánchez smiled along with it. He was determined to be polite and respectful towards Arsenal and not to say anything controversial.
It was possible to interpret Sánchez’s comment about wanting to see out his contract as an attempt to force Arsenal’s hand in the summer – as there is no chance that they would allow him to run it down and leave for nothing in 2018. On the other hand, it is doubtful that he had any such ulterior motive.