Arsene Wenger: Alexis Sanchez will “win the fans back”

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has backed Alexis Sanchez to have the Gunners faithful on his side very soon.

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Sanchez, 28, started on the bench for Arsenal’s 3-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday and he watched on as fellow strikers Danny Welbeck (twice) and Alexandre Lacazette scored.

When he came off the bench Sanchez was widely booed by the home fans at the Emirates Stadium as he is yet to sign a new contract and has less than 12 months left on his current deal at Arsenal. A move to Manchester City fell through on transfer deadline day and now he is with Arsenal until at least January 1.

The Chilean forward, who traveled to South America last week to compete in 2018 World Cup qualifiers after a abdominal injury, started in Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the Premier League before the international break, but wasn’t deemed fit enough to start against Bournemouth.

Speaking to the media, Wenger confirmed that Sanchez was rested as he continues to work his way back to full-fitness and he believes the fans will get behind him shortly.

“Alexis Sanchez is very focused on the Premier league and the Europa League and he wants to do well. He is still a bit short physically. He will be quickly back to his best,” Wenger said. “It was a serious performance, we played well all over the pitch. Alexis Sanchez will win the fans back, and win them back very quickly. We want to do well in Europe and we will put out a team that can win the game on Thursday.”

The Gunners have a grueling stretch of seven games in 17 days starting with a tough test against FC Koln on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

Sanchez, Arsenal’s leading goalscorer last season with 30 in all competitions, will be needed between now and January when the speculation around his future will ramp up once again.

He has the choice to agree a free transfer to a non-English team from January onwards but of course there’s still the chance he could remain at Arsenal and sign a new deal.

The Arsenal fans booing him may curtail any plans Sanchez has to stick around at the Emirates Stadium beyond this season…