Alexis Sanchez, who scored Arsenal's winner against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, runs out of contract at the end of next season. The 28-year-old has been linked with various clubs across Europe, including Manchester City and Chelsea. With 24 goals in all competitions this season, Sanchez is Arsenal's top scorer and one of the league's most lethal forwards. He is often singled out for praise for his work rate, technical skill, and versatility. In his 3 seasons with the Gunners, the former Barcelona man has won an FA Cup and a Community Shield.

However, the Chilean has stated on various occasions that he wants to win even bigger trophies. If Sanchez does not sign a new deal with the Gunners, Arsenal will have to either sell him in the summer or let him go for free at the end of next season. Arsene Wenger has now made it clear that he would rather let Sanchez go for free than sell him.

Wenger won't let Sanchez leave this summer

Sanchez's contract situation is somewhat reminiscent of Robin van Persie's situation back in 2012. The Dutchman, of course, left the Gunners for Manchester United and went on to win the league with the Red Devils, to the dismay of Arsenal supporters. Wenger has, however, previously stated that Arsenal are no longer in a position where they have to sell to a direct Premier League rival.

Speaking about Sanchez's future at the club, Wenger said: "If he doesn't sign a new deal, will I make him stay? Yes. Would I rather keep him than sell him to a Premier League rival? Yes. [...] You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams."

While Wenger's statement will come as a relief for many Arsenal fans, it remains unclear whether the Gunners would be willing to sell Sanchez abroad.

Both Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are understood to be keen on signing the versatile forward. Wenger, however, insists that the 28-year-old is still happy at the North London club.

Wenger still optimistic that Sanchez will sign new deal

The Gunners have gone through a rough patch since Christmas, but have gone back to winning ways against Middlesbrough and Manchester City, after Wenger introduced a new system to the team.

Sanchez was believed to have grown frustrated with his teammates, but Wenger insists that the winger is happy at Arsenal. "I think he will sign and stay because, first of all, he is happy here. His desire is to stay. That is what I deeply believe," said Wenger. Wenger also claimed that the "disagreements [between Sanchez and the club] are purely contractual." It has been reported that Arsenal have offered the Chilean a record-breaking deal worth £300,000-a-week. However, Sanchez is also looking for reassurances that the club can match his ambitions by signing new players in the summer to strengthen the squad.