Arsene Wenger: Alexis Sanchez will 'accept' he must see out Arsenal deal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Alexis Sanchez will respect the club's decision that he will not be sold this summer, and confirmed that fellow forward Lucas Perez is set to leave the Emirates Stadium after just one season.
Sanchez looked sharp as he took part in an open training session at the Emirates on Thursday and appeared to give the Arsenal badge on his shirt a quick kiss in front of the cameras and a few thousand fans.
Sanchez only returned from an extended holiday on Tuesday amid continued speculation about his future, but Wenger said the Chile international is fully focused on the upcoming season as he enters the final year of his contract.
"The only thing I can tell you is he is focused. My decision is clear, he will stay and he will respect that. It's as simple as that," Wenger told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Community Shield against Chelsea.
Wenger has yet to decide whether Sanchez and centre-back Shkodran Mustafi will feature in that game after their late returns following the Confederation Cup, but hinted that the forward will be ready for the Premier League opener against Leicester next Friday.
"He had a good rest. He needs to work on his fitness, but once in the game he's sharp and looks like he's never been away," Wenger said. "The frame of mind of a football player is quite easy: you go out and focus on the game, enjoy every moment. He loves the game so much. I think he will be here for this season, and if we manage to, for more as well."
Wenger is still hoping that Sanchez will sign a new long-term deal with the club, but would not disclose any details about how those talks are going.
"We do not want to come out on that because every negotiation has to be a little bit secret. We know we have duty to inform, but to talk about some things is not information, it's suicide," he said. "I think he will be here this season, and if we can do it for more seasons we will do it as well."
Perez trained with the team again on Thursday as he waits for his own future to be sorted out, with the forward keen on a return to Deportivo La Coruna.
And Wenger said that Perez, who was brought in toward the end of last summer's transfer window, will be sold.
"Yes, because we have a congestion of strikers," he said. "I don't like to lose him but we have many strikers and too much competition is no competition anymore."
Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are not the only Arsenal players who are entering the final year of their contracts, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs all in the same position.
However, Wenger said there was "nothing to announce" on any of their deals.
"We make always progress but there is nothing concrete to tell you about that," he said.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.