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Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, believes that although Arsenal will miss Alexis Sanchez if he leaves this summer, it won’t be the end of the world.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal v Chelsea in the Community Shield on 6 August, Courtois admitted that while he’d prefer it if Alexis didn’t play, since he’s a great player, the Gunners would cope if he leaves for good this summer.
“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,” the goalkeeper said, reports the Evening Standard.
“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).
“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 (Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in May) 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.”
Arsenal previously lost 3-0 to Chelsea during their pre-season match in Bejing, and if the Gunners play how they did against Sevilla during the Emirates Cup on Sunday, they may need more than just Alexis to help them get a result at Wembley.
Whether the Chilean will be available to play, let alone start, is unknown.
The 28-year-old was supposed to return to training on Sunday but this was pushed back to Tuesday because, according to Arsene Wenger, he’s suffering from the flu.
The boss claims that Alexis will fly back to London on Monday.
On whether he’ll be ready for the start of the season, Wenger said, “I don’t know, you have to assess his physical state.”
This will give Alexis just five days at the most of training before the Community Shield and that’s only if he does indeed return on Tuesday as predicted.
According to Arsenal.com, the boss also reiterated that, yes, for the 100th time, Alexis will stay at Arsenal next season, saying, “Yes of course. How many times have I told you that?”
From the outside, the forward’s future at Arsenal appears to be up in the air, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both being heavily linked with the star, who wants to play Champions League football.
Wenger, however, maintains that nothing has changed and that Alexis will stay at Arsenal next season for the final year of his contract, whether he signs a new one of not.
As Courtois says, Alexis is replaceable. However, his goals, which he scored 30 of last season, will be missed.