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Alexis Sánchez out of Premier League opener with abdominal injury

Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez

Alexis Sánchez is set to miss at least Arsenal’s opening two Premier League games due to an abdominal injury, with Arsène Wenger once more refusing to reveal if the club had received any bids for the forward.

Sánchez sat out Sunday’s victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield after picking up the injury on the day of the match. With less than a year remaining on his current deal, the Chile international has been linked with a move away from the club this summer. He could leave for free at the end of this season.

Despite Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in signing the 28-year-old, Wenger has insisted he will not be sold and instead “will respect” his decision.

But with Leicester City the visitors for Friday’s opening fixture of the new Premier League season, the manager admitted the player who scored 24 league goals last season is out of contention to face Craig Shakespeare’s side and is also expected to miss next weekend’s trip to Stoke City.

“Alexis will not be available,” said Wenger. “He has a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley. He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while. I don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week but he will not be available. I think he will not play at Stoke, yes.

“For us Alexis Sánchez is a loss, of course,” he added. “But we have all the other players prepared in pre-season and they are all ready.

“It can happen in pre-season and anyway I don’t think I would have included him on Friday night. I don’t think I would have started him.”

Sánchez was given special dispensation to return late to Arsenal after helping Chile reach the final of the Confederations Cup. He subsequently missed an extra three days after going down with an illness and his continued absence for the start of the season will only fan the flames of speculation over his future.

Wenger batted away questions over whether they had received any concrete offers and said his close relationship with the PSG chairman, Nasser al-Khelaifi, had no bearing on the player’s future.

“I can’t tell you that at the moment. I just think we are not open – what I said to you many times – to any offers, anyway,” he said.

“It’s a long time I didn’t speak to Nasser, because it’s certainly very busy to complete the transfer of Neymar and it’s a long time that I didn’t speak to him.”

Pushed on whether he expected Al-Khelaifi to get in touch, he added: “No, no. I think if you read the French papers, they are on [Kylian] Mbappé’s case to finish their transfer market.”

Arsenal are understood to hold an interest in the Nice midfielder Jean Michaël Seri, although Wenger admitted after the penalty shootout victory at Wembley on Sunday that he would need to trim his squad before the start of the season before contemplating any new arrivals.

Seri is also wanted by Barcelona, who have already indicated they are willing to pay the Ivory Coast international’s £35m asking price.

 

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