Arsene Wenger has insisted Alexis Sanchez’s future is completely down to Arsenal, and not the player, and says reports of a training ground bust-up are “completely false”.
The Frenchman dropped his top scorer from his starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with Liverpool, with widespread reports later claiming his omission was due to a series of rows.
The two men have been pictured shaking hands at an open training session at London Colney on Monday morning as the Gunners prepare for their Champions League round of 16 second leg against Bayern Munich.
Speaking ahead of that game, Wenger has played down talk of Sanchez leaving at the end of this season and insists his future is completely in the hands of the club.
“Alexis Sanchez has 15 months on his contract, whether he is here next season will depend on Arsenal and no-one else,” he said via Standard Sport.
“He’s a committed player and sometimes has excessive behaviours but you look back to the history of the same in every squad.”
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Wenger also hit back at the press for their reports of arguments behind the scenes and feels such rumours have come about due to the club’s recent poor form.
“Yes completely false [reports of a training ground bust-up] but I understand that you have to fill the newspapers and we respect that,” he added.
“When you don’t win the game it’s down to real stories and we have to accept that.”
Sanchez came on at half-time against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday but Wenger was reluctant to say whether the Chilean would start the match against Bayern on Tuesday night.
“I haven’t decided yet,” he said when asked. “What does it mean, the definition? What is a happy person? I hope he will be very happy tomorrow night.”
Wenger’s defiance is little surprise but supporters will be all too aware that if Sanchez is unhappy and a big offer comes in this season, Arsenal may find it very difficult to keep a player who will by then only have a year left on his contract.