Mar 6, 2017 12:32:42
The Arsenal forward started Saturday's defeat at Liverpool on the substitutes' bench amid reports of a row with team-mates
Arsene Wenger insists reports of a training ground bust-up involving Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez are ‘completely false’.
The Chile international was a surprise omission from the Gunners' starting line-up in Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield, a decision for which Wenger drew widespread criticism.
Reports later emerged that Wenger made that call following Sanchez leaving the training pitch mid-session leading to a heated exchange with team-mates.
But Wenger has insisted that such stories were created with the sole purpose of filling space in newspapers.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second-leg tie with Bayern Munich, he said: "Yes, [reports of a falling out with Sanchez are] completely false.
"I understand you have to fill newspapers and I respect that.
"We have to accept that."
Reports of a bust-up have only exacerbated rumours that Arsenal will cash in on Sanchez at the end of the season, with the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla said to be readying a bid.
Wenger, though, insists that Arsenal are under no pressure to sell and that any decision will be down to the club and not the player as Sanchez still has 15 months left on his present contract.
"This is normal [that there are rumours about his future], like with all players," Wenger added.
"Alexis Sanchez has 15 months on his contract so the decision on whether he is here will depend on Arsenal Football Club."
Wenger has yet to decide if Sanchez, who came on at half-time against Liverpool to assist Danny Welbeck's goal, will return to the starting XI as Arsenal attempt to complete an unlikely rescue job against Bayern with the Bundesliga champions leading 5-1 from the first tie.
The Frenchman added that Sanchez was part of a collective failure in the Gunners' inability to win at Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
"I haven't decided yet [about Sanchez starting against Bayern]," he said.
"When [Sanchez] did not perform away when we lost too. We lost at Chelsea. We lost at [Manchester] United. We lost at [Manchester] City."
Sanchez's expressive body language has often been highlighted this term and Wenger admitted he can sometimes be a bit over the top, while skilfully sidestepping questions on the former Barcelona star's happiness.
"Sometimes his behaviour is excessive," Wenger added.
"What does it mean [being happy], the definition? What is a happy person? I hope he will be very happy [against Bayern]."