London, United Kingdom, Mar 31 – Arsene Wenger claims Alexis Sanchez will be happy to stay with Arsenal because his club are the only London team worth playing for.
Sanchez is yet to sign a new deal with the Gunners amid suggestions he had demanded a transfer following a heated row with Wenger earlier this season.
The Chile forward told South American media this week that he is happy in London and keen to see out his Arsenal contract, which expires next year.
But, in the same interviews, Sanchez said he wants to play in a team with a “winning mentality”, sparking speculation he covets a move across London to Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Despite Arsenal currently languishing 19 points behind Chelsea, Gunners boss Wenger doesn’t believe his star wants to leave the Emirates Stadium because he already plays for the capital’s biggest club.
Asked how he interpreted what Sanchez had said, Wenger replied: “In a very positive way. There’s only one team in London, so he is happy.
“It’s true we have not extended his contract yet but I hope he will stay at the club.
“I think you have to be cautious when people give interviews in their home countries because the interpretation is not always exactly what they wanted to say.
“But I don’t see anything negative (in Sanchez’s comments). He said he wants to win the championship, that’s what everybody wants and I can understand that completely.”
Sanchez has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks as Arsenal’s season has unravelled.
Both he and team-mate Mesut Ozil are reportedly holding out for parity with the Premier League’s top earners.
Asked about Arsenal losing stars like Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas in the past, Wenger said: “That is true that it happened before when we were in positions where we had to sell financially our best players. That’s not the case anymore.
“They (Sanchez and Ozil) are not out of contract at the end of the season. I personally believe that both of them want to stay and I hope that the club will find an agreement.”
Wenger’s future is also unresolved, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season, but the Frenchman called on his players to “be men” and not blame the uncertainty for their recent struggles.
“It would be an easy excuse,” he told Sky Sports News. “For me whether I stay three years or 10 years I have exactly the same commitment and the same desire to win the next game.
“I believe as well we are in the position where we do not have to find easy excuses. Our job is to perform — can you perform despite that?
“My attachment to this club, at the moment it is as it is and I do not see any escape route to have less responsibilities because I might not be here.
“We have to be men and focus on what matters and what is our job.”