May 02, 2015 10:47:15 UK
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted Alexis Sanchez could miss the start of next season should Chile reach the latter stages of the Copa America.
Sanchez has been the Gunners’ player of the season, finding the back of the net 22 times in 46 appearances this term since moving from Barcelona last summer.
The South American forward has been a key figure in Arsenal’s revival in the second half of the season and there had been fears he could be forced to sit out the north London outfit’s showpiece end to the campaign, the FA Cup final on 30th May.
The Copa America, for which Sanchez will captain Chile, starts on June 11 and FIFA regulations state clubs have to release their players 14 days prior to the start of a major competition.
Arsenal have brokered an agreement with the Chilean Football Federation to allow Sanchez to play against Aston Villa, with the Gunners 1.33 to lift the trophy, while the Villans are 3.50.
When asked about the 26-year-old’s availability, Wenger said: “They (Chile) could call him up. We got an agreement they won’t call him. Anyway I am sure he would not go (before the FA Cup final).
The French coach has revealed though that he may decide to rest Sanchez for the start of next season should Chile go all the way to the Copa America final having allowed German trio Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podoloski an extended break after their World Cup exertions last summer.
The 2015/16 Premier League season begins on 8th August and Wenger says he will not rush his star forward back over fears fatigue could become an issue later in the campaign.
“That is not good news (for Arsenal) because they (Chile) finish very late and if they go very far, he will miss the start of the season,” he added.
Sanchez is likely to be in the Arsenal line-up on Monday night for their next Premier League game at Hull.
The Gunners are 1.72 for the win, with the Tigers 5.50 and the draw 3.80.
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