Summer success will delay Sanchez
Published 01/05/2015 | 23:01
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Chile agreed not to call up Alexis Sanchez for the Copa America until after the FA Cup final, but fears the forward could miss the start of the next season if La Roja enjoy a successful summer.
Sanchez has been one of Arsenal's most consistent performers this season, settling in quickly following a £32million move from Barcelona after the 2014 World Cup.
However, the 26-year-old is also an integral part of the Chile national team, with the South American country set to host the Copa America from June 11 to July 4.
Under FIFA regulations, clubs have to release players 14 days prior to the start of the international tournament.
If enforced, those statues would make Sanchez unavailable for the FA Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley on May 30, and could co-incidentally also impact on any teams with players involved ahead of the Champions League final on June 6.
While Arsenal appear to have brokered an agreement with the Chile Football Federation to delay Sanchez's departure to his homeland, Wenger accepts should La Roja progress through the championships which culminate at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, then there would be little option but to give one of their star men some extra recovery time ahead of the new domestic campaign which kicks off on August 8.
"They (Chile) could call him up. We got an agreement they won't call him. Anyway I am sure he would not go (before the FA Cup final)," said Wenger.
Arsenal allowed World Cup winners Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil an extended break following Germany's success in Brazil last summer.
Other players such as defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper David Ospina returned from the World Cup carrying injuries which limited their availability for the first few weeks, during which Arsenal struggled to produce consistent results.
Asked what would happen should Chile progress through to the latter stages of the 2015 Copa America, Wenger replied: "That is not good news (for Arsenal) because they (Chile) finish very late and if they go very far, he will miss the start of the season."