By Louis Sealey | Metro |
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes Arsenal have ‘a lot of players’ with the quality to replace Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez, 28, played no part in the Gunners’ Emirates Cup triumph this weekend, claiming he was sick in an Instagram post last week.
His absence did little to reduce the intense speculation surrounding his future at the club – although Arsene Wenger has maintained the forward is not for sale.
Reports suggest the playmaker, who has netted 72 goals in an Arsenal shirt, could hand in a formal transfer request to force through a move to Manchester City.
When asked about Sanchez, Courtois told the Evening Standard: ‘Alexis is a guy with a lot of quality. If you see all the games from last season there is a lot of danger coming from him.
‘He has a very strong shot, he is quick. He has the technique. He is important for them but Arsenal have a lot of players with quality.
‘So they will miss him but I think they have a lot of players with that quality to replace him. I think they have bought a good new striker [in Lacazette].’
Courtois, who will come up against Arsenal in the Community Shield next weekend, added: ‘I’d prefer if he [Sanchez] doesn’t play because he is a good player! But we cannot only look to him.
‘For example in the FA Cup Final they missed some defenders and everybody thought they would be bad. But Per Mertesacker played a great game that day.
‘So you cannot look to the team as one player or another player. It will be a difficult game regardless but I hope for the same outcome as the friendly last week.’
Sanchez has entered the final year of his contract in north London but Wenger is unconcerned that he – along with Mesut Ozil – are yet to sign new deals.
In fact, the Frenchman claimed the situation was ‘ideal’ for Arsenal as it means star players are determined to perform in every game.
‘It is an ideal situation – everyone has to perform,’ said Wenger, speaking after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Sevilla on Sunday afternoon.
‘When you are a player you perform until the last day of your contract. It doesn’t change if you have one year or two years left. Do you really think they sit in the dressing room and think “I only have one year to go, I will not play well today”.
‘When you re a player you go out and do as well as you can. What does it have to do with the length of contract.
‘I am amazed that you are surprised by that – it is normal to me. Every situation is different because some players go out of contract because the club doesn’t want to extend but nobody knows that Sanchez will not extend his contract here.’