Alexis Sanchez: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says forward will return to best

Alexis Sanchez will have no problems reproducing his best form for Arsenal after an “uncomfortable” transfer window, says manager Arsene Wenger.

Chile forward Sanchez, 28, came close to joining Manchester City on deadline day, but Wenger has “no doubt about Alexis’ mind and mentality”.

Arsenal agreed a £60m deal with City but it depended on them signing Thomas Lemar, who decided to stay with Monaco.

“He will be back very quickly to his best,” said the Frenchman.

“The transfer market is over, there was a lot going on. It’s very difficult to speak about because Lemar is now at Monaco and has to focus there, Sanchez is here and his focus is here,” Wenger added.

“Many things happen in the last second which I regret. That’s why I believe it’s time we change the rules and close the transfer window before the league season starts.

“The players have no clarity. Are they in or out? There are some who are tapped up on the afternoon of a game by people who want to get them out.

“It’s uncomfortable and every manager in the league would agree it’s time to kick that out before the season starts. You can’t have players in the dressing room who are half in and half out.”


Arsenal began their new league campaign with a 4-3 victory at home to Leicester, before losing 1-0 at Stoke and 4-0 at Liverpool, a defeat Wenger described as “disastrous”.

They host Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on Saturday (15:00 BST kick-off).

“Do I suffer with performances like that? That is obvious, but unfortunately that is part of a career as well,” Wenger said on Thursday.

“You want your team to always perform, so of course you question your decisions and your preparation – but overall we have played only three games,” the 67-year-old added.

“There are 35 matches to go. I love my players, I believe in my players. We have the quality to respond and on Saturday we have a good opportunity to show that was an accident.

“Life is movement and quality of performance can change from one week to another. The fans can come to a quick conclusion or they can say let’s see what happens and stand behind the team. That is what we want.”

Wenger on Ozil criticism

Wenger defended midfielder Mesut Ozil, who has been a recent target for criticism from a number of former Arsenal players, including Thierry Henry, Lee Dixon, Paul Merson, Martin Keown and Ian Wright.

The Germany international, whose contract expires at the end of the season, responded by urging former players to “stop talking and start supporting”.

“I’ve had all the players here and we speak today – but they all had their weaknesses as well,” Wenger said.

“They had their weak games and their weak behaviours as well. Nobody was perfect.

“We are all grateful for what they have done for the club, but what matters most is the players on the pitch who can defend the pride of the club.”

Wenger on Mbappe

On transfer deadline day, France striker Kylian Mbappe, 18, joined Paris St-Germain on loan from Monaco, with a permanent 180m euro deal set for next year.

“We were on the case last year already and he was close to joining. We were maybe closer last year than this year, because the competition was smaller.

“He is an exceptional football player.”

Wenger on Oxlade-Chamberlain

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to Liverpool for £35m.

“At the end of the day you make a decision; we had to sell somebody. Overall I believe that today we are in a strong financial situation, as always, and we have a good enough squad to compete.

“I wish him all the best, we are thankful for what he has done here. Sometimes it opens the door for some younger players who won’t get an opportunity.”

Wenger on Cazorla

Midfielder Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since limping out of a Champions League game against Ludogorets in October with an ankle injury. He had surgery in December.

“He had his first run today. The mobility of his ankle looks good, now it is about getting back to full fitness without suffering another problem. It is difficult to predict when he will be available again – but it will not be before Christmas.”




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