Arsene Wenger: Alexis Sanchez will be motivated against Manchester City
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger says it will be business as usual for Alexis Sanchez when Arsenal travel to Manchester City on Sunday.
Wenger has faced questions about Sanchez all week leading up to the clash at the Etihad Stadium, after the forward pushed for a move to City this summer only to see it fall apart on deadline day.
Speculation is rife that City will come back with another bid for Sanchez in January, but Wenger is adamant that his star player will not have split loyalties.
"I expect him to be motivated, but he always is, honestly. One thing you cannot fault with Alexis Sanchez is motivation," Wenger said. "Your attention will be on [him]. My attention will be on the team performance, not on Alexis Sanchez."
Sanchez has had a rocky start to the season after recovering from an abdominal injury, but Wenger said he has been "very close" to his best in recent games and that he has no qualms about starting the forward against the team he wanted to join this summer.
"I don't see why against Man City it would be different than against any other team," he said. "Alexis is a winner -- when he walks on the football pitch he wants to win."
Wenger spent months insisting that Sanchez would not be sold, only to change his stance on the final day of the window when Arsenal initially accepted a £60 million bid from City. However, that was dependent on Arsenal signing Monaco's Thomas Lemar as a replacement, but the France international turned down the move despite a £90m bid.
Wenger, though, played down the suggestion that the move was close to happening.
"No -- and at the end of the day, close or not close, it doesn't matter. It doesn't have any influence," he said. "What is important is that when you're somewhere and you have an opportunity to play at the top level you give your best, and that is what he will do."
Wenger added that he has no idea whether City will return in January with another bid for Sanchez, whose contract expires in the summer.
Asked if there was any chance Sanchez will sign a new deal with Arsenal, Wenger said: "Before Sunday, certainly not."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.