LONDON (AFP) – Arsene Wenger claims Alexis Sanchez will be happy to stay with Arsenal because his club are the only London team worth playing for.
The Chile forward told South American media this week that he is happy in London and keen to see out his Arsenal contract, which expires next year.
But, in the same interviews, Sanchez said he wants to play in a team with a “winning mentality”, sparking speculation he covets a move across London to Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Despite Arsenal currently languishing 19 points behind Chelsea, Gunners boss Wenger doesn’t believe his star wants to leave the Emirates Stadium because he already plays for the capital’s biggest club.
Asked how he interpreted what Sanchez had said, Wenger replied: “In a very positive way. There’s only one team in London, so he is happy.
“It’s true we have not extended his contract yet but I hope he will stay at the club.
“I think you have to be cautious when people give interviews in their home countries because the interpretation is not always exactly what they wanted to say.
“But I don’t see anything negative (in Sanchez’s comments). He said he wants to win the championship, that’s what everybody wants and I can understand that completely.”
Sanchez, who is expected to be fit for this weekend’s visit of Manchester City after playing twice for Chile during the international break, has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks as Arsenal’s season has unravelled.
Both he and team-mate Mesut Ozil are reportedly holding out for parity with the Premier League’s top earners.
Asked about Arsenal losing stars like Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas in the past, Wenger said: “That is true that it happened before when we were in positions where we had to sell financially our best players. That’s not the case anymore.
“Look, he has one and a half years left on his contract. I don’t think it’s an immediate concern to Arsenal Football Club.
“They (Sanchez and Ozil) are not out of contract at the end of the season. I personally believe that both of them want to stay and I hope that the club will find an agreement.”