Arsene Wenger insists he wants to extend Alexis Sanchez’s Arsenal contract at some point this season, and says being out of the Champions League means they can focus on the Premier League.
Sanchez has one year left on his current deal at the Emirates, and with speculation surrounding his future still rife, Wenger is remaining firm with his stance.
In an interview with Sky Sports, the Frenchman says he has dealt with similar situations many times before at Arsenal, and hopes the Chile international will sign a new deal.
“We are in a very simple state, he has one year to go and I want him to stay. And if possible, during the season, extend the contract,” Wenger said.
“I’ve dealt with this kind of situation many times, because when we built the stadium we had such restrictions on the financial front, and we weren’t too much in a position where we had a choice to make a decision to sell.
“We are hopefully going to a future where we will be much stronger on that front.”
Arsenal, who face Liverpool at Anfield, on Sunday from 3.30pm, were drawn against BATE Borisov, Cologne and Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League group stages on Friday.
Despite looking on as a neutral spectator at the Champions League draw the previous day, Wenger is seeing positives.
It is the first time in 20 years Arsenal are not in the Champions League, but Wenger says this means they can fully concentrate on the Premier League.
“Yes, it’s frustrating, because 20 years on the trot we were in the Champions League.
“But the Premier League has taken over from the group stage of the Champions League; many times I rested some players in the group stages of the Champions League because the next league game was so difficult.
So the absolute priority now is the Premier League.”
Wenger’s Arsenal have started the Premier League campaign with a win and a defeat – beating Leicester 4-3 before losing at Stoke 1-0 – amid question marks about the new three-man defence.
Wenger says Arsenal deserved to win at Stoke, and was disappointed at their defending of set pieces against Leicester, but says the way they react against Liverpool could set the tone for the season.
“You go through disappointments and obstacles throughout the season, but the way you respond to it decides your season.”