Wenger: Sanchez revered like Beckham

Alexis Sanchez carries the expectation of a nation in the same way David Beckham did for England, says Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal kept hold of Sanchez despite a Deadline Day £60m bid for the player, and the 29-year-old could leave the club on a free transfer when his current contract expires next summer.

Sanchez's desire to play at the World Cup for Chile next summer was expected to maintain the forward's commitment levels at Arsenal, but his national side - who have won back-to-back Copa America titles - this week missed out on qualification for Russia.

Wenger likened the pressure on Sanchez in his home country to the hype that used to surround Beckham, who became England's villain for his red card at the 1998 World Cup before going on to lead the national team as captain.

 Sanchez was not due to arrive back in London until Thursday afternoon and it remains to be seen whether the forward is physically, and mentally, ready to face Watford on Saturday.