Arsenal’s Wenger backs Sanchez to return to form
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has voiced confidence that Alexis Sanchez will put his aborted transfer to Manchester City behind him “very quickly”.
Arsenal reportedly agreed a fee for Sanchez with City on transfer deadline day, only for the deal to collapse after Wenger was unable to complete a move for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
Sanchez looked miserable during Arsenal’s 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool prior to the international break and then suffered successive defeats with Chile in World Cup qualifying.
But Wenger said: “I have no doubt about Alexis’s mind and mentality, that people question.
“He needs to come back to full fitness, which he was not (at) against Liverpool. It was his first game and he has suffered a negative experience with Chile.
“But he is strong mentally and hopefully he will be back very quickly to his best.”
Despite reports Arsenal had agreed to sell Sanchez to City, Wenger would not go into detail about what had happened on deadline day.
“The transfer market is over. There was a lot going on on that front,” the Frenchman told a press conference at Arsenal’s London Colney training base on Thursday.
“It’s very difficult for me to speak about that because the most important thing now is our next game.”
Asked if Sanchez’s departure had been contingent on Lemar’s arrival, Wenger replied: “That’s what I read everywhere, yes.
“My view is that it is too difficult to speak about that because Lemar is now in Monaco and of course Sanchez is here.
“I believe you have to keep a certain confidentiality about transfer negotiations. Many things happen at the last second.”
But the Arsenal manager dismissed suggestions the move for Lemar had failed to materialise because the France international did not want to come to the Emirates Stadium.
“He decided to stay in Monaco and you have to respect that,” Wenger said.
“The player has a three-year contract to go, so overall you have to respect that.”
Arsenal host Bournemouth on Saturday and Wenger would not say whether midfielder Jack Wilshere, who spent last season on loan at the south-coast club, would be in his squad.
But he gave a positive update on the fitness of long-term injury victim Santi Cazorla.
The Spanish midfielder has not played since sustaining an ankle injury against Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Champions League last October.
“Santi is having his first run today,” Wenger said.
“The flexibility of his ankle is good, his mobility is good and now it’s time to get him back to full fitness without any setbacks.
“It’s difficult to predict when he will be available again — not before Christmas. But I hope after Christmas he will be available.”