Alexis Sanchez may not start Arsenal’s clash with Southampton this weekend after he only arrived back in London late on Thursday night from international duty, meaning he has not trained with the rest of the squad in nearly two weeks.
Along with goalkeeper David Ospina, Sanchez was a late returnee as the pair flew back from South America, and their lack of preparation time could result in manager Arsene Wenger electing to leave the pair out of the starting line-up for the visit of the Saints to the Emirates on Saturday.
Wenger has the luxury to leave Sanchez out after confirming that new signing Lucas Perez will feature, although he is yet to make a decision over Shkodran Mustafi after the new arrival picked up a small knock while on international duty with Germany.
"Sanchez and Ospina I haven't seen yet [got back last night],” Wenger said at a press conference on Friday morning, although he did deliver a positive update on forward Alex Iwobi’s recovery from a hip injury sustained in the opening weekend 4-3 defeat by Liverpool. “Iwobi is back in the squad, [Aaron] Ramsey not ready for tomorrow or Tuesday."
Ramsey also limped out of that match with a hamstring injury and will not be in contention for the Southampton encounter or Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain.
With Ramsey absent, Wenger is also unable to call on possible replacement Jack Wilshere given that he gave the midfielder the green light to seal a transfer deadline day loan move to Bournemouth. Wilshere’s future at his childhood club has been thrown into doubt as a result, but Wenger insisted that he hopes to see the 24-year-old spend the rest of his career at Arsenal.
Wenger explained his reasons for letting Wilshere leave for the rest of the season, and revealed that they both came to an agreement that the best thing for his development is to seek regular football.
"Wilshere is a world class player,” Wenger said. “I like him further forward, it's always a shame when he plays.
"For me, it's a chance for him to play regularly to get back to being a world class player.
"We had a chat together and he was concerned that he would not get enough competition and games early enough. The challenge is for him to play games.
"He wanted games, that's his desire and I thought it was logical. It's important that he gets the number of games.
"I hope personally he will stay his whole career here."
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