Robert Pires says he has spoken to Alexis Sanchez about his contract renewal and the Chilean has told him he just wants to play and enjoy his football.
The 28-year-old’s future remains the subject of intense speculation with Sanchez in the last 18 months of his current deal and still to agree a contract extension.
Sanchez remains in top form on the pitch, keeping his nerve to score the winning penalty against Burnley in the 98th minute on Sunday as the Gunners moved second.
Pires says that the Chile international is not too worried about the situation and only cares about playing football.
“I spoke to Alexis last week and asked about the renewal,” he told La Tercera. “He told me he didn’t know, that he only cared to play. The renewal is not a subject for Alexis. He doesn’t know what is going to happen, he just wants to play and enjoy.
“All we want is for Alexis to remain at Arsenal. I hope he renews his contract because he is a wonderful player. Alexis is the engine of the car. I hope he stays forever.”
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Talk of Sanchez leaving Arsenal have been fuelled by his recent outbursts on the pitch but Pires says he can understand why he was frustrated after being substituted against Bournemouth.
“I understand, because footballers always want to play the whole game,” he explained. “We train for that.
“To see Alexis a little angry is to show his team-mates, and the fans, that he has a tremendous desire to play. It is an example for all.”
The World Cup winner also expressed his admiration for Sanchez’s Panenka penalty againt Burnley, admitted it takes real courage to slot home when the pressure is on.
“It was impressive. Alexis doesn’t know what the pressure is,” he explained.
“You have to think that the 98th minute was being played and Arsenal weren’t winning by a three or four goal difference. It was one-one.
“You have to have a lot of balls to take penalties like Alexis does.”
Sanchez’s desire to play is unquestionable, all at Arsenal are hoping he wants to continue playing in an Gunners shirt.