LONDON – Amid persistent reports that Alexis Sanchez wants to leave Arsenal, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger says the Chile forward will return to training on Sunday.
Sanchez missed Arsenal’s pre-season tour to Australia and China, while he rested after playing for his country at the Confederations Cup.
The former Barcelona star’s absence couldn’t quell speculation he could be on the way out of the Emirates Stadium after refusing to accept Arsenal’s offer of a new contract.
Sanchez’s current deal runs out at the end of the forthcoming season, and with Arsenal so far unable to meet his reported demand for wages of £300 000 per week, he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Juventus and Bayern Munich.
Despite Sanchez’s apparent desire to leave, Wenger – who reportedly clashed with the striker after dropping him for a match at Liverpool last season – has remained steadfast in his belief he will be able to persuade the 28-year-old to stay.
Sanchez won’t feature in this weekend’s Emirates Cup friendly tournament at Arsenal’s stadium, but the £50m-rated star will link up with his teammates at their London Colney training base.
Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi, who also missed Arsenal’s tour after Confederations Cup duty, is scheduled to return to training alongside Sanchez.
“Alexis and Mustafi, their first training session will be on Sunday, the day we play against Sevilla (in the Emirates Cup). They are practising on the day,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
Wenger will keep close tabs on Sanchez and Mustafi’s fitness before deciding whether to include them in the FA Cup holders’ starting line-up when they face Premier League champions Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 6.
Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign against Leicester at the Emirates Stadium on August 11.
“First of all, you make a really good check-up of where they are, how much they have worked during their break,” Wenger said.
“After, once you know where you stand, they need an adjusted programme and to see how quickly you can fit them in again.
“Of course it depends as well on what is the need in the squad, what is their quality. All of these things together make your decision.
“Do you put them on the bench when they are not ready? It is easier to put a striker on the bench than a defender, sometimes. Because in a short period, they can make an impact. We’ll see.”