Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is known for his unending faith in his players, and he hasn’t lost faith in Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez was minutes away from joining Manchester City last week as Arsenal tried to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco, but Lemar declined and as a result, the Sanchez deal was off. That disappointment for Sanchez was compounded with a pair of frustrating international defeats for Chile.
But Wenger believes that Sanchez, who only played in his first Premier League game of the season – Arsenal’s 4-0 blasting at Liverpool – before the transfer window, will return to his best this season.
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“I have no doubt about Alexis’ mind and mentality that people question,” Wenger said. “He needs to come back to full fitness, which he was not at Liverpool. It was his first game. He suffered, he had a negative experience now with Chile but he is strong mentally and hopefully he will be back very quickly to his best.”
Wenger also provided updates on a pair of injured players as well as his thoughts on a rumored proposal to close next year’s Premier League transfer window before the start of the season.
The Arsenal manager is a big proponent of closing the transfer window earlier, with numerous players not knowing whether they’re in or out of the team through the first few weeks of the season.
“Many things happen in the last second, and I regret that,” Wenger said. “That’s why I believe it’s important that we change that [transfer window] and close all that stuff before the championship starts.
“Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable. Every single manager in the league would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.”
Wenger also commented that Santi Cazorla is returning to running, nearly a year since his last match after suffering a lingering ankle injury that’s required multiple surgeries.
“The flexibility of his ankle looks good, his mobility is good and now it’s about getting back to full fitness without having any setbacks,” Wenger said. “It’s very difficult to predict when he will be available again. I think it’s very difficult to set a time. Not before Christmas, that’s why I didn’t involve him in the Europa League, but overall I hope that after Christmas he will be available.
“Yes [I think he’ll play at the highest level again],” added Wenger. “But he has not played for a year now. He’s had a few surgeries so you are always cautious to set a time or date, but overall, yes it looks positive.”