Press conference

Wenger on Alexis, Lemar and transfer deadline day

"Back home. Focus."

That was Alexis’ message on his Instagram account - alongside a picture of himself in his No 7 shirt - as he returned to England from international duty.

The Chilean was one of the big stories of transfer deadline day but he remains an Arsenal player - and Arsene Wenger is convinced we’ll see the best of him this season.

Here’s the manager’s take on the Alexis/Thomas Lemar deadline day speculation:

on Alexis’ mentality…
I have no doubt about Alexis’ mind and mentality that people question. He needs to come back to full fitness, which he was not at Liverpool. It was his first game. He suffered, he had a negative experience now with Chile but he is strong mentally and hopefully he will be back very quickly to his best.

on how close Alexis was to leaving on deadline day…
I believe that the transfer market is over. There was a lot going on, on that front - so overall it’s very difficult for me to speak about that. The most important for us now is to focus on the next game.

on whether Alexis leaving depended on Thomas Lemar arriving…
That’s what I read everywhere, yes.

on what his opinion on that is…
My view is that it’s very difficult to speak about that because Lemar is now in Monaco and has to focus on Monaco. Alexis is here and focuses here. After that, I believe as well we have to keep a certain confidentiality about the transfer negotiations and the transfer market is part of that. Many things happen in the last second, and I regret that. That’s why I believe it’s important that we change that [transfer window] and close all that stuff before the championship starts. 

Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable. Every single manager in the league would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.

on Thomas Lemar…
He decided to stay in Monaco and you have to respect that. The player is under a three-year contract to go so overall you have to respect that.


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