English football giant, Arsenal could be dealt a huge blow in January following the imminent exit of two major key players.
Arsene Wenger says Arsenal could cash in on Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez by selling them in January if there has not been a breakthrough in contract talks before then.
Sanchez and Ozil have both entered the final year of their contracts and Wenger told his news conference on Thursday morning it is “possible” they could be sold during the winter transfer window.
When asked whether he would contemplate a January sale, Wenger said: “Once you’re in our kind of situation, you envisage every solution, yes. It’s possible.”
Sources told ESPN FC last month that Manchester City would consider reviving their interest in Sanchez in January, while a source told ESPN FC this week that Arsenal have yet to reopen talks over a contract extension with Ozil, although the Germany international remains open to a stay.
Wenger confirmed that the club is nowhere close to a deal with Ozil but remained hopeful that both he and Sanchez will still sign extensions.
“I always said that the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean that the player will necessarily leave — because both players look happy here,” he said. “Overall I hope that the situation can be turned around.”
Ozil is back in team training this week after a knee inflammation and is available for Saturday’s Premier League game at Watford, while Sanchez will not be back at the club until Friday after returning late from Chile’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil.
Sanchez will be dealing with both fatigue and the disappointment of missing out on next summer’s tournament in Russia, and Wenger said he will have to gauge the player’s physical and mental state before deciding whether to play him at Watford.
“I will have to speak to him,” Wenger said. “It was a very physical game [against Brazil]. Mentally I will have to assess the situation when he comes back tomorrow.”
But Wenger said that Sanchez’s disappointment will not have a long-term effect on his commitment to Arsenal this season.
“I don’t think [it will]. I believe that he, like [Wales’] Aaron Ramsey, they are winners. They want to focus on winning things,” Wenger said. “The World Cup is a stimulant, I don’t deny that, but when you don’t have it you focus on your club and what you can achieve with your club.”
Wenger also said he hopes Jack Wilshere does not push for a January move amid speculation that the midfielder could leave to seek more playing time in order to make England’s World Cup squad.
Wilshere has yet to make a Premier League appearance this season after recovering from a broken ankle but has played well in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
Wenger said that the midfielder will get more games soon, and does not have to leave Arsenal to be in contention for England.
“I don’t think [he does need to leave]. I believe that Jack at the moment is in the best form I’ve seen him in for a long time,” Wenger said. “He’s very close now to being considered like anybody else.
“Overall I believe he doesn’t necessarily have to leave Arsenal to reach the World Cup. If he keeps going like he’s going at the moment, he will go to the World Cup, I’m sure. I don’t see Jack being fully fit and not going to the World Cup.”
England qualified comfortably for next summer’s tournament in Russia but the team were criticised for a lack of creativity in their last two games.
Wenger agreed that Wilshere could be the perfect solution for Gareth Southgate’s side.
“Jack is certainly one of the players who has that more than anybody else,” he said. “[England] have plenty of good players but he is maybe more of a No. 10 than any other player. He can open spaces, can play in tight areas, can get out of tight areas as well.”