Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez returned from his summer holiday “not very fit” and is waiting to get him “back to his best”.
The Chile international was reportedly on the verge of a deadline day move to Manchester City, only for it to fall through at the last minute with the Gunners unable to sign a replacement in time.
Sanchez has failed to agree a new deal at the Emirates Stadium and he will be able to leave on a free transfer in the summer unless he renews his contract at the club.
Some fans and pundits have suggested his refusal to sign a new deal could be part of the reason for him being left on the bench against Chelsea at the weekend but Wenger insists it was solely down to fitness issues.
“Look, there’s no disguised attitude on my side,” Wenger said in a press conference on Thursday morning. “I just try to get him back to full fitness.
“The Europa League and League Cup is important, I try to give him competition and get him back to his best.
“I gave him a long holiday. He came back not very fit, then he got injured. The injury plus the rest was a bit long.
“I left him on the pitch for 90 minutes so he could have a real go.
“All the players are, he’s not more than any other (in my plans).
“Sanchez could have played (vs Chelsea) if he was 100 percent fit at the start.
“In one game I go with three strikers, the three that don’t play will play midweek, no matter the competition.”