• The Chile international has started just one league match after coming close to leaving the Gunners.
  • But Wenger insists there is no ulterior motive behind his decision not to select him.
  • Gunners boss suggests Arsenal have ended their interest in West Brom's Jonny Evans.

Arsene Wenger insists recent decisions not to select Alexis Sanchez in his Premier League first-team is solely down to fitness issues and not concerns over the Arsenal forward's state of mind.

Sanchez's time in north London looked to be drawing to an end during the summer only for his proposed move to Manchester City to fall through on transfer deadline day.

After his start to the season was delayed by illness and injury, he has only started one match in the Premier League, dropping to the bench for recent encounters with Bournemouth and Chelsea.

After completing 90 minutes against Cologne in the Europa League last Thursday, the Chile international started again in Wednesday's low-key Carabao Cup third-round clash against League One side Doncaster Rovers – prompting suggestions Wenger still has concerns over the forward's motivation.

"No not at all," Wenger said on the possibility of Sanchez's focus being in doubt during a press conference on Thursday. "That is going to very quick conclusions. It's just he has been out injured and I thought he was still a bit short physically on Sunday [against Chelsea]. I played him last night to give more competition.

The Arsenal boss added: "There is no disguised attitude on my side, I just try to get him back to full fitness. I try to give him competition and to get him back to his best. He had a long holiday and he came back not really fit, then he got injured.

"But last night you could see he is coming back. I left him on for 90 minutes because I wanted him to have a go."

Wenger has indicated Sanchez will be ready to start on Monday against West Bromwich Albion, a contest that could pit the Chilean against a player Wenger has repeatedly tried to sign in Jonny Evans.

The Gunners joined Manchester City in the race to sign the Northern Ireland international during the summer transfer window with neither club meeting West Brom's valuation. For now, Wenger says his interest in the player has ended.

"Once the transfer period is over you focus on your squad and you accept that from the players who play for other clubs."

Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez started his third match of the season against Doncaster on Wednesday. Getty