Arsenal will be without Alexis Sanchez for the first two games of the 2017/18 Premier League season, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed.
The Chilean watched from the stands as the Gunners beat Chelsea to lift the FA Community Shield on Sunday and will do the same at the Emirates for Friday night’s game against Leicester City and will also miss an away trip to Stoke City on August 19.
“Sanchez will not be available,” Wenger confirmed: “He had a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training before he came to Wembley. He had a scan two days ago. He is out for a while – two weeks or one more week.
“He will not play at Stoke. It’s a loss, but we had all the other players prepared in pre-season already. It can happen. If I included him, I wouldn’t have started him on Friday.
Asked about Sanchez’s current state of mind amid transfer speculation, Wenger said: “[He is] focussed. [But] when you have treatment on the medical bench it’s not easy.”
Paris Saint-Germain had reportedly made signing Sanchez a summer objective before dropping interest this week, as the French press reported. When asked if PSG CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi had been in touch about his player, Wenger claimed there had been no recent contact.
“No, it’s been a long time I have spoken to him,” the Frenchman said. “He’s been busy with the transfer of Neymar. If you read the French papers they are on Mbappe’s case.
“On my side I had no contact at all with Paris Saint-Germain.”
On if Sanchez is closer to signing a new deal, Wenger said: “All is possible when the players go in the final year of the contract. There is no reason why we shouldn’t do it.”
Asked if the club have received any offers for the Chilean this summer, Wenger replied: “I can’t tell you that for the moment. We are not open to any offers anyway.”
On other doubts for Leicester
Wenger also said “there are uncertainties over Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker” for the season’s opening game on Friday.
On Barcelona transfers and inflated fees
“When you listen to transfer rumours, some of it will travel to England. But you have to remember it’s just numbers.
“The numbers are going up but the amount of quality players is not.”
On Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future
“Oxlade-Chamberlain has had injury problems but last season he was more stable.
“He is hugely talented and still on the way up. The potential is there and I believe he will be a great player.”
On David Ospina’s future
“It was not easy to convince Ospina to stay, but he will play games and fight with Petr Cech to start.
“And anyway, we play other competitions. He wants to play in a World Cup year.”
On Sead Kolasinac being described as an “animal” by Theo Walcott
“He has the force of an animal – I think he’s a good player and suited to the Premier league.”