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Arsene Wenger wants Alexis Sanchez to remain at Arsenal beyond January despite benching him for one of their biggest game of the season.
Having excluded the Chilean from the squad for their FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest, the Gunners coach chose to leave him on the sideline for the Carabao Cup semi-final with Chelsea.
Denying that the decision had anything to do with Manchester City’s interest, Wenger defended his decision to leave out the Chile international and of his commitment to Arsenal
“The team selection had nothing to do with the transfer market,” he said.
“Why did I start him on the bench? Why not? I do not have to justify every decision I make, you know. I have played over 1000 games and over 1000 teams.
“I want him to stay this month. I want him to stay for longer because he’s a very important player for us.
“When he came on tonight, you could see that he created danger straight away. We have to accept as well when you play so many games and Sanchez plays every game that sometimes a breather in the middle of the season helps a little bit.
“People don’t know Alexis Sanchez well, this is a guy who is completely focused on playing football.
“You see how he warmed up and how he came on: like a player who wants to play football and he can make a difference between what is going on outside and what’s going on on the football pitch.
“He gives 100 percent.”