Tuesday 12 December 2017

Alexis Sanchez "very happy" at Arsenal - but says new deal depends on the club

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez:
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez: "I'm very happy at the club. I love all the staff. I'm very grateful for everybody here."

Alexis Sanchez says he is "very happy" at Arsenal but insists it is up to the club to come up with a deal to keep him at the Emirates Stadium.

The 27-year-old has 18 months remaining on his contract but both he and team-mate Mesut Ozil are reportedly seeking parity with the Premier League's top earners before extending their deals.

Sanchez has been linked with a £500,000 a week move to the Chinese Super League, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger unhappy with continued questioning regarding the future of his top goalscorer.

Sanchez has kept quiet about the situation up until now but has put the ball firmly in Arsenal's court.

"It really doesn't depend on me," he told Sky Sports when asked about a new contract.

"If they want to show confidence in me. I'm very happy at the club. I love all the staff. I'm very grateful for everybody here.

"I'm focused more on winning football matches - I'm staying concentrated on that."

The Chile forward went on to set out his targets with the Gunners ahead of this weekend's trip to Manchester City.

"It depends on Arsenal," he added. "I enjoy the relationship with the fans. I want to achieve more for them. I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League."

Earlier on Friday, Wenger insisted neither Sanchez nor Ozil - whose own deal also has a year and a half to run - will be affected by their ongoing contract wrangles.

Newspaper reports had claimed former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is ready to make a move for his compatriot Sanchez.

Pellegrini, now in charge of Hebei China Fortune, is quoted by The Sun as saying: "If Alexis wants to come, we have a club for him right now. He can come to join us in China immediately."

But Wenger, who was once again prickly when pushed further on contract news for the key duo, remained unmoved when asked if the situation could affect Sanchez and Ozil on the pitch - Arsenal are at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Asked if he had concerns that lengthy contract talks could have an impact on the players, the Frenchman replied: "There is no concern, not at all. There is no concern, I answer you straight away.

"You waste your time because these players have 18 months (left on their) contract and I don't see why there is any urgency in every press conference to have that question.

"Maybe you lack a bit of creativity in the newspapers and you always come up with the same subject. I don't see why that should turn up in every press conference.

"If people want to go to China, they go to China. You can understand that I have completely different worries than China today ahead of the Manchester City game."

Arsenal have the financial ability to pay Sanchez and Ozil what they are asking for, even if it means breaking the club's wage structure, after years of being unable to compete with Europe's richest teams.

In the past, Wenger has lost some of his top talent to City with the likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna all moving to the Etihad Stadium as Arsenal looked to balance the books following their move to the Emirates.

Wenger joked that City had been "good clients" for Arsenal in the past but now insists the north Londoners are not as vulnerable as they once were, even if the backers of the City Football Group mean the north-west side remain in a stronger position.

"It has reduced but it is still there," Wenger said, when asked if the financial gap between the two clubs had lessened.

"We are not (as vulnerable) because today I feel we can give financial satisfaction and support ambitions and values that can make the players happy at this club.

"Before, perhaps the financial gap was too big a difference to keep our players. We could not compete, we had to sell players."

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