Arsenal contract rebel Alexis Sanchez could yet feature in the Community Shield against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium despite continued uncertainty over his future in north London. The Chile international has entered the final 12 months of his contract and has reportedly told teammates he wants to leave the Gunners.
Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have all been linked with the 28-year-old, yet where Sanchez will be playing his football beyond the end of the summer transfer window appears no clearer. Sanchez had been given extra time off after playing in the Confederations Cup and, alongside defender Shkodran Mustafi, has only recent resumed training with the club.
After recovering from a bout of flu, Sanchez returned to Arsenal this week and completed a session in front of 5,000 supporters at The Emirates Stadium. Though he has not featured for the club during pre-season he is being considered for the clash with Premier League champions Chelsea in the traditional curtain-raiser ahead of the new domestic campaign.
"Some players have just come back, like Sanchez and Mustafi, and I have yet to decide if they will be involved," said Wenger, according to The Mirror. "[Sanchez] had a good rest. Needs to work on his fitness, but once in the game he's sharp and looks like he's never been away."
Long-term injury victims Santi Cazorla and Joel Campbell remain sidelined and are not in contention for the game, while Gabriel Paulista continues to recover from a knee problem suffered on the final day of last season, which forced him to miss the FA Cup final. Francis Coquelin picked up an ankle injury during the Emirates Cup and is out, but Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, who missed training on Thursday (3 August), are available.
"We have certainly everyone available to choose from," the French boss added. "We did not have Ozil in full training but he should be alright. Ramsey as well. Coquelin is injured. We don't think it will be too bad. Gabriel starts to run again now but needs two or three weeks before he can join in."
Against the backdrop of the speculation regarding Sanchez, Arsenal endured an uncertain pre-season which saw them win just three of their six games inside normal time. Wins over Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers were followed by victory on penalties over Bayern and a heavy 3-0 loss to weekend opponents Chelsea.
The Emirates Cup on home soil saw Arsenal thrash Benfica but lose to La Liga side Sevilla, and Wenger wants to use the Community Shield to get back to winning ways ahead of their opening league game against Leicester City. "For us it is a good opportunity to repeat the performance from the final and give competition to players who need it," he added. "The next competition has a trophy at stake and we want to win it and repeat the result from the FA Cup final."