Arsene Wenger: Alexis Sanchez wants to stay at Arsenal but we need to find an agreement with his agent

Jeremy Wilson
Alexis Sanchez is known to want to stay in London - EPA

Arsene Wenger has claimed that Alexis Sanchez is willing to stay at Arsenal for at least another season and suggested that a new contract hinges on financial negotiations with the Chile striker’s agent.

Sanchez will enter the final year of his contract this summer and wants to stay in London rather than move outside the Premier League, but is understood to regard Chelsea as his preferred destination away from Arsenal.

Chelsea are lining up bids for both Sanchez and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and, while Sanchez has so far refused a contract extension and made no attempt to conceal his frustration at recent results, Wenger remains publicly optimistic.

“I believe that he basically wants to stay and it’s down to finding an agreement with his agent,” he said. “The players have to first see whether they are happy at the club. The finances are involved in it.”

Seven possible destinations for Sanchez

Wenger, of course, was similarly confident with his public statements before selling other star players over the past six years and Arsenal will want to avoid the nightmare scenario of Sanchez playing out his contract before joining a Premier League rival for free.

As with Robin van Persie, it largely leaves Sanchez in control this summer of where he ends up. Wenger’s own future also remains hugely uncertain but he claimed that he would be scoring “an own goal” by announcing whether he would sign a new contract.

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A small upturn in results has promoted the theory that Wenger and Arsenal could imminently reach final agreement on a two-year deal but the Frenchman also said that a final decision might wait until the end of the season.

Wenger was also rather cryptically asked whether he would encourage a striker to score if he was faced with a chance and, having answered in the affirmative, was asked why he had not then signed the contract that has been discussed.

“What you ask me is to score own goals,” Wenger replied.

Regardless of the fan unrest, there has long been a desire from Wenger and Arsenal to continue their partnership but the ongoing inability to mount a lasting Premier League title challenge has deepened a belief that the structures around the manager require modernisation.

Arsenal play Crystal Palace on Monday night but will again be without Petr Cech and David Ospina, although midfielder Francis Coquelin is back in the squad. Laurent Koscielny will also miss out with his Achilles injury but Wenger confirmed that the scan has not shown any ligament damage.

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