Arsene Wenger has calmed rumours that Arsenal will sell Alexis Sanchez to a Premier League rival but has admitted that a deal to keep the Chilean is yet to be struck.
Wenger compared Sanchez to Robin van Persie, who was controversially sold to Manchester Untied in 2012, and claimed there is no chance this will occur again as the two cases are different.
Among the clubs rumoured to be interested in signing tenacious Chilean are Chelsea, Bayern Munich, PSG and Manchester City.
“I don’t think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure.” Wenger said. “The question is more, why would you sell him to another club? You want to be as strong as you can be, and not strengthen the other teams.
“I let Van Persie go in the last year of his contract because Van Persie was 29, going on 30 and he was signing a long-term contract. That is not the case with Alexis, I personally think he will sign and stay here.
“Even if he doesn’t sign a new deal, I will make him stay? Yes. Would I rather keep him than sell to a Premier League rival? Yes.
“But first of all, he is happy here. His desire is to stay. That is what I deeply believe. The disagreements are more contractual, not on the desire. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement, so I think it will happen.”
Sanchez has become a central figure in discussions about Arsenal’s lack of winning mentality and is seen by many as the way forward for the Gunners winning major trophies.
Wenger opted to use him at the spear of attack at the start of the season but has dropped him further back in recent months in favour of Olivier Giroud. The Chilean has still managed to accumulate an impressive attacking numbers – 25 goals and 12 assists in 48 games.
His fine performances have raised questions over him not being nominated for Premier League Player of the Year.
His contract with Arsenal runs out in 2018.