Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez should be left alone to decide his future, captain Per Mertesacker has said.
The 28-year-old’s future with the Gunners has been in doubt, with Manchester City and Bayern Munich keen to sign him this summer while discussions over a new deal at the club have made little progress.
Manager Arsene Wenger believes Sanchez will stay and said on Saturday he had held “positive” talks with the player, who is currently in his hometown of Tocopilla in Chile on his post-season holiday, via text message.
Sanchez was quoted by Chile’s Radio Sport that his dream is to win the Champions League – a competition Arsenal will not be in next season after they finished fifth in the Premier League.
Mertesacker, who will retire at the end of the season and take up a coaching role at the Emirates Stadium, says Sanchez needs to be given time to make his decision.
“He needs a break now,” the German defender said. “He needs to relax. He has done a lot for us. He played almost every game last season and then the Confederations Cup.
“You need to leave him alone to make up his mind what he wants to do. It’s his decision. If he feels good, comfortable, he can play with freedom.”
Mertesacker is entering the final season of his playing career at Arsenal as he prepares to become the club’s academy manager next year and the German is eager to finish on a high.
“I want to make the most of it,” he told the Arsenal website. “I want to stay injury free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That’s the target. To make it as enjoyable as I can.
“As long as I am there I want to play and contribute.”