‘I deeply feel that Alexis loves to be here’


There has been plenty of speculation about Alexis’ future this summer.

The Chile international is entering the final year of his contract with us and, ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool, Arsène Wenger had this to say about our No 7.

on whether Alexis returning will give our players a boost…
We are disappointed by our result on Saturday but we are not down. It is the first game we lost since the beginning of April and we feel we should have largely won this game. Alexis, when he is in the squad, he can score a goal for you at that is always good for morale.
on him showing his character by wanting to play…
He wants to play. It is difficult for me to know about the individual cases but sometimes players have been promised things that have not been kept. I can only tell you what happens here and Alexis works for hard and is focused to play.
on whether this is a chance for him to create lasting memories with us…
Yes, I think what is good is our mutual interest is that he does well for us. His interest is to do well, on top of that I deeply feel that he loves to be here and he loves the club and he arrives at a stage of 28, 29 and looks at the quality of his contract but I think he deeply loves to be here.
on it giving Wenger a year to persuade him to stay…
Look, in a professional job I always think that you have to make sure with your commitment that the guy who pays you gets what he is paying you for. Alexis is in that mode and I think he will be until the last day he is here, he will give his best.
on whether he will stay if we are top of the league in October, for example…
You cannot rule anything out, of course you are under threat as well. For me you have a sport decision, and the sport decision is easy – you keep him until the last day of his contract. Then you have a compromise to find if you can afford to do it because you lose a lot of money and at the end of the day my decision, which is purely sporting, is easy to make – I want him to stay, after that there is of course a lot of money involved as well and the club needs to make a financial sacrifice.
on who will have the final say…
I have always been followed by the board, but the final say belongs to the board.

on how much of a boost Koscielny’s return will give us… 
We lost the game on Saturday because defensively we gave a cheap goal away, and it’s good to have him back.

on how hard it’s been for Koscielny…
It’s been very hard, because I didn’t even consider him for friendly games, you know, because I had to play some defenders, I think what hurt him a lot was to miss the cup final. He had a reaction in the final game of the season against Everton that was unlucky, but sometimes… he’s a very quiet guy and sometimes he can get rushed, you know, because he realises, he thinks always he has the speed and the pace to win the tackle, in this case he didn’t.

on when he makes the decision to play those in the final year of their contracts…
To play them or not, no, I don’t consider their contractual situation to decide who plays and who doesn’t play.

on the ‘financial sacrifice’ in Alexis’ case…
The financial factor you sometimes have to prioritise, yes…

on Alexis and Ozil being a combined £150m ‘financial sacrifice’…
It’s still not an Mbappe, no! It is true, yes, I agree with you, that’s why I said, it’s a financial sacrifice for the club and at the end of the day you have to calculate what you can afford and what you can’t afford.

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