Per Mertesacker believes Alexis Sanchez will stay at Arsenal and he does not even need to speak to the Chilean to know that.
Sanchez has a year left on his contract and has attracted interest from Manchester City. He is currently on an extended break following Confederations Cup duty with his national side and speculation is rife that he will quit the Emirates.
However, club captain Mertesacker says that is not the case. ‘I am very confident (he will stay),’ he revealed.
‘It’s his decision. If he feels good, comfortable, he can play with freedom. He has his qualities. You cannot find those everywhere.’
Mertesacker will retire at the end of the season before becoming Arsenal’s academy manager. And he believes the best way to handle Sanchez is to give him space.
‘I have not spoken to him,’ the 32-year-old said. ‘He needs a break now. He needs to relax. He has done a lot for us.
‘He played almost every game last season and then the Confederations Cup. You need to leave him alone to make up his mind about what he wants to do. He has one more year here and then he makes his mind up. It’s his decision.’
Mertesacker, speaking at an Emirates soccer school in Sydney on the first leg of Arsenal’s pre-season tour, wants to sign off his playing career with a flourish after lifting the FA Cup last May.
‘I want to make the most of it,’ he said. ‘Last season was not satisfying for me. The end was a fairytale but the way to that was very tough. I want to stay injury-free, be an option for the manager and get picked every weekend.
‘That’s the target — to make it as enjoyable as I can.’
Mertesacker played in only two matches last season and admitted his fitness needed monitoring.
‘Arsenal manage me very well at the minute,’ he said. ‘I am not doing everything because nobody knows how my knee will react at the moment. We are not overloading.
‘I am fine but I am not doing every double session. When we come to games, you will see the reaction. Games three days, seven days, the rhythm of it.
‘At the end of the season that was OK but I need to find out how well I am when it comes to playing 90-minute games.’