The hot topic of the day at Arsene Wenger's pre-match press conference on Monday was Alexis' future at the club.
After media reports that the Chile international could leave the club this summer, Arsene Wenger broached the rumours and had this to say:
- 'I want to see we're up for the fight'
- Wenger on the squad and his future
- Team news: The latest on Mesut Ozil
on what’s happened with Alexis…I am not aware. Nothing happened. Nothing at all.
on whether Alexis’ attitude has been what he would expect…I explained after the game at Liverpool that I decided to go for a more direct option in the game. That’s what happened. That was the unique reason for my decision. All the rest, his attitude - he’s a committed player and sometimes has excessive behaviours but you have that many times in the history of every squad.
on whether the story about Alexis is incorrect…Yes, completely false. But I understand that you have to fill the newspapers and we respect that. When you don’t win games it’s not always down to real stories and we have to accept that.
on what his relationship is like with Alexis…Honest and normal. Like with every single player.
on whether Alexis will be here next season…Alexis has 15 months of his contract so the decision of will he be here or not will depend completely on Arsenal Football Club and not on anybody else.
on whether Alexis can channel his frustration better…It’s about the team performance, not individuals. It’s a team sport and the most important thing is that we focus on our collective. Our game is built on collective expression. That is the most important thing, that we focus on what’s important and not the individual. Alexis played in all the games and when we didn’t perform away from home, we lost as well. We lost at City, United and Chelsea, and that’s what I think is the most important thing, to focus and produce as a team.
on Alexis being a vital cog in the team…I don’t deny that, but they are all proven winners. Players who play at that level are all proven winners. What is important is that we perform as a team. Football is not only about one player, it is much bigger than that.
on using that spirit to drive the team…There is not a lot to add, everyone wants to win and everyone’s focus in the team is important.
on whether Alexis will start…I haven’t decided yet, you will have to come to the game [to find out]. I make that decision tomorrow morning.
on whether he is happy here…What does it mean? The definition of a happy person is very difficult, I have never found an ideal situation. A happy player on the football front is a player who comes out of a game and has won it and has performed well. I hope he will be very happy tomorrow night.
on whether Alexis wants to stay…Let’s not project ourselves too far. Short-term happiness is easier to get that long-term happiness, so let’s just focus on short term.
Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.