Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says talismanic forward Alexis Sanchez will be plying his trade at The Emirates Stadium next season and is still hopeful of tying him down to a new long-term contract.
The Chile international made the difference for the Gunners at Wembley on Sunday (23 April) by scoring an extra-time winner to send them through to the FA Cup final at the expense of Manchester City, but the former Barcelona star only has one year left on his current contract and could well depart north London for pastures new in the summer.
But Wenger, who also faces a rather uncertain future, seemed to confirm that his star forward will remain an Arsenal player beyond this summer and praised him for his role in his side's triumph of City at Wembley.
"Alexis Sanchez was like the team," Wenger told Sky Sports. "He had problems to start and became stronger and stronger. He is an animal, always ready to kill the opponent. He will never give up. He will be here next year because he has a contract and hopefully we will manage to extend."
Talks between Arsenal and Sanchez over a new deal have been put on hold until the summer. The club are also planning discussions with laconic playmaker Mesut Ozil, while Wenger is also keen to hold on to the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, who is currently recovering from a broken leg.
There is also the small matter of Wenger's future, too, but Arsenal's immediate focus is on their clash with Premier League champions Leicester City on Wednesday.
Despite their recent cup success, the Gunners' league form has been simply sub-standard over the last couple of months, though they have managed to win three of their last four games in all competitions and could bolster their Champions League aspirations with a win over the Foxes, whose sparkling form under Craig Shakespeare has tailed off slightly.
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