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Football | Premier League

Alexis must be given space - Per



Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez should be left alone to decide his future, captain Per Mertesacker has said, as speculation continues to swirl about the Chilean's plans.

Sanchez, who was the North London side's top scorer last season with 24 league goals in 38 matches, is entering the final year of his contract and is yet to sign a new deal.

"He needs a break now," Mertesacker told reporters during the club's pre-season tour. "He needs to relax. He has done a lot for us. He played almost every game last season and then the Confederations Cup.

"You need to leave him alone to make up his mind what he wants to do. It's his decision. If he feels good, comfortable, he can play with freedom."

Mertesacker is entering the final season of his playing career at Arsenal as he prepares to become the club's academy manager next year and the German is eager to finish on a high.

"I want to make the most of it," he told the club's website. (www.arsenal.com) "I want to stay injury free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That's the target. To make it as enjoyable as I can.

"As long as I am there I want to play and contribute."

Arsenal won both their pre-season friendlies in Australia and are currently in China, where they will play German champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday and Premier League champions Chelsea on Saturday.



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