Alexis Sanchez delays Arsenal return as he considers transfer request
Alexis Sanchez will not return to Arsenal until Tuesday after being given an additional two days off to recover from flu, but manager Arsene Wenger could find himself looking at a transfer request from the forward immediately upon his arrival.
Wenger confirmed on Saturday evening that Sanchez, who was originally due back for training on Sunday, will not report at the club’s London Colney training base until Tuesday.
The 28-year-old posted a picture on his Instagram page on Friday to reveal that he was suffering from sickness, although given that he is currently trying to leave the club after turning down Arsenal’s attempts to extend his contract beyond the end of next season, plenty of doubt was cast over the severity of his illness.
However, following Arsenal’s 5-2 victory over Benfica in the Emirates Cup on Saturday, Wenger confirmed that the club are aware of his illness and have given the Chilean some extra time off in order to fully recover from a bout of flu and reduce the chances of it spreading among the rest of the squad.
"He has flu, yes. I had him on text yesterday," said Wenger. "There's no development - he is staying, of course."
However, that could all change on Tuesday when Sanchez finally returns – just five days before Arsenal face Chelsea in the Community Shield – with The Mirror reporting that he is considering handing in a transfer request to try and force through a move to Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola is a known fan of Sanchez, having worked with him at Barcelona, and City are believed to be willing to offer Sanchez as much as £400,000-a-week in order to lure him away from the Emirates. With just one year remaining on his contract, Sanchez could choose to wait until the summer of 2018 in order to leave Arsenal on a free transfer, although a request to leave this summer would open the door to an early exit and a potential £50m sale for Arsenal.
Sanchez is not the only Arsenal player with fewer than 12 months remaining on his contract – far from it, in fact. Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs have all entered their final year of their current deals, meaning Arsenal could lose as many as five first-team players next summer for nothing, which would prove a massive blow to them both financially and competitively on the pitch.
But Wenger was keen to play down the importance of tying that quintet down to a new deal, and insisted that it is a problem for him to worry about rather than the players themselves.
"The players who have one year of their contract have to respect their contract and play out their contract," Wenger said.
"For a manager, it's a bit different because it concerns more what is the future of the club.
"The players were thinking, 'What's going on and what's happening?', so it creates uncertainty [with my contract] because it's a global policy.
"I am responsible for the global policy of the club but for the players it is different."
Arsenal could yet attempt to reach some sort of compromise with Sanchez that includes the offer of a short-term one-year contract on £300,000-a-week – more than double his current £160,000 salary, with a promise to renew talks again at the end of the season.
(© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service