Arsenal V Leicester at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

By
26 April 2017

Wenger confident Sanchez will sign new Arsenal contract

Arsene Wenger's future may remain up in the air but he is confident Alexis Sanchez will sign a new Arsenal contract this summer.

The Chile playmaker proved his worth to the Gunners yet again by firing them into the FA Cup final with the winner against Manchester City on Sunday.

Both City and Manchester United have been linked with big-money summer moves for Sanchez, whose current deal has one more year to run.

But Gunners boss Wenger believes the 24-goal forward wants to stay, and flatly ruled out any possible sale to a Premier League rival.

"I personally think he will stay and sign," said Wenger.

"First of all he is happy here, his desire is to stay, that is what I deeply believe. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement so I think it will happen."

Reports claim United have put Sanchez on their wishlist while City boss Pep Guardiola is understood to be keeping tabs on the situation.

But Wenger had bad news for both, saying: "I don't think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure.

"The question is why would you sell him to another club? You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams.

"But as I have said, I think he will stay and sign a contract."

While happy to discuss Sanchez's future, Wenger once again shrugged off questions about his own.

The 67-year-old Frenchman, whose contract is up at the end of the season, saw some of the pressure from disgruntled fans ease with Sunday's Wembley victory.

But Wenger remained tight-lipped on whether he plans to stay when quizzed.

Asked if there was any news, he simply replied "no", and repeated the response when pressed on whether he had any idea when an announcement will be made.

And as for whether any decision would be based around how Arsenal perform over the final few weeks of the season, the answer once again was "no".

Nevertheless, Wenger did reveal he is already working on the club's transfer targets for next season - although he insisted there was no clue to be had from that.

"I work until the last day of the season for the future," he said.

"Transfer targets are important for the future of the club. That (my future) is secondary, the future of the club is important."

The Gunners host Leicester on Wednesday evening knowing a victory would move them back up to sixth, three points behind United and four behind City, who play each other on Thursday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a foot injury during the FA Cup game with City and left Wembley on crutches, but Wenger confirmed that was just a precaution.

David Ospina (back), Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez (both thigh) are still missing along with Santi Cazorla (Achilles), who will not play again this season.

Meanwhile, Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare believes Jamie Vardy has forgotten his Arsenal drama.

The striker returns to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since turning down a B#20million move to the Gunners last summer.

Arsenal triggered Vardy's release clause at Leicester but he opted to sign a four-year deal at the King Power Stadium, having scored 24 goals to fire them to a shock Premier League title.

The England forward appeared to suffer a hangover from the decision after a slow start to the season, but Shakespeare feels he has now moved on.

"I think all players will go through peaks and troughs, they have that and they have to stay mentally tough, which Jamie did," he said.

"Players can't think, 'If I have one bad game maybe I made the wrong decision'.

"It's about rolling your sleeves up and making sure you turn those indifferent performances into good performances and you see the Jamie that we're seeing out here at the moment, playing full of confidence but a goal threat as well."

Vardy scored just six times for the Foxes before Christmas but has nine goals in his last 13 games for Leicester and England, with Shakespeare now expecting even more.

"I'm reluctant to say yes (he is back to his best) as I want more from him, but his goalscoring of late has been very good," he said.

"I think strikers go through purple patches, then there are the dark times when whatever they hit doesn't go in.

"At the moment, you see a player full of confidence and full of running, we need a Jamie Vardy threatening defenders, getting on the shoulders and being a goal threat as well."

Wes Morgan will miss the game with a hamstring injury, while Nampalys Mendy's season is over following an ankle operation.

Robert Huth will return after being banned for the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.


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