Reports emerged recently that Sanchez was benched for the Gunners’ 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday after being involved in a training ground spat with team-mates, claims manager Arsene Wenger denied, per BBC Sport.
Two-time Premier League winner Pires, who has been working at Arsenal’s London Colney base this season, confirmed that Sanchez had indeed left training but due to a poor challenge, not a fight, per beIN Sports (h/t MailOnline’s Oliver Todd and French football writer Matt Spiro)
Claims in press there was a fight are false. I was there. There was a bad tackle on [Sanchez], a clash, he left the pitch. Fans have to understand. There was a disciplinary sanction. Nothing serious happened. I was there yesterday, too; [there was] no problem.
er BBC Sport’s report, Wenger explained the “unique reason” he dropped Sanchez for the Liverpool game was because he “decided to go for a more direct option.”
However, Pires confirmed the Chile international was benched at least in part as a disciplinary measure, per Todd.
The 28-year-old was thrown into the action at half-time against the Reds by Wenger, and, although he set up Danny Welbeck’s goal, he could not prevent the Gunners losing their third Premier League game in four and dropping out of the top four.
Sanchez was restored to the starting XI for Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, which saw them crash out of the UEFA Champions League at the last-16 stage for the seventh consecutive season.
He was taken off 17 minutes from time at the Emirates Stadium and seen stifling a laugh on the bench. Meanwhile, 2008 Champions League winner Rio Ferdinand speculated after Arsenal’s humiliation that the former Barcelona man could leave Arsenal in the summer, per BT Sport Football:
Sanchez has long been locked in a contract stand-off with Arsenal—his current deal expires in 2018—and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly leading Juventus in the race to sign him this summer, per Matt Law and Jeremy Wilson in the Telegraph.
A move to either PSG or Juve would give Sanchez a much better chance of winning league titles than he currently has at Arsenal.
As noted by Ferdinand, Tuesday’s defeat to Bayern is likely to only have made Sanchez more inclined to leave the struggling Gunners, even if he has not fallen out with his team-mates and manager.