Alexis Sanchez will miss Arsenal’s opening two Premier League games through an abdominal injury – and Arsene Wenger has already been left cursing his luck.
The Chile international has been linked with a move away from the club this summer with less than a year remaining on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium and could walk away for free at the end of the upcoming season.
Wenger has insisted several times that Sanchez will not be sold, although links with Manchester City continue.
Having played in the Confederations Cup up until the final on July 2, Sanchez was given an extended summer break which included missing Sunday’s Community Shield penalty win over Chelsea.
Now Wenger has revealed the 28-year-old will miss Friday’s Premier League clash at home to Leicester as well as the trip to Stoke the following weekend.
“Alexis will not be available,” he said when asked about team news ahead of the visit of the Foxes.
“He has a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley. He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while.
“I don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week, but he will not be available. I think he will not play at Stoke, yes.”
Wenger admitted entering the new campaign without Sanchez is a blow for the Gunners but said he would not have featured against Leicester even if he had not suffered a set-back.
“For us Alexis Sanchez is a loss, of course,” he said.
“But we have all the other players prepared in pre-season and they are all ready. It can happen in pre-season and anyway, I don’t think I would have included him on Friday night. I don’t think I would have started him.”
Sanchez’s initial return to training was delayed by three days as he had an illness but his extended absence from the team will only flame the fires of speculation over his future.