Football: Arsene Wenger flags sale of star pair

While Mesut Ozil's agent has said that contract talks with Arsenal are progressing positively, Arsene Wenger has pointed out that the German and Alexis Sanchez might leave the club in January.
While Mesut Ozil's agent has said that contract talks with Arsenal are progressing positively, Arsene Wenger has pointed out that the German and Alexis Sanchez might leave the club in January.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

No deadline yet, but Sanchez, Ozil could depart in January if new deals not signed

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded yesterday that he may have no option but to sell star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window.

The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and are yet to agree to new deals.

As things stand, they will be able to leave the Emirates Stadium for free, meaning January will be Arsenal's last opportunity to cash in on their two most high-profile players.

"It is possible," Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side's Premier League clash away to Watford tomorrow. "Once you're in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes."

Asked if Arsenal had set a deadline for contract negotiations with the pair to conclude, Wenger replied: "No. Not at the moment."

Chile forward Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014, a year after Germany playmaker Ozil's arrival from Real Madrid. But the talented duo, both aged 28, have thus far been unable to end the club's 14-year wait for the Premier League title.

Sanchez has been linked with a number of major clubs, among them Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Ozil, meanwhile, is reported to have attracted interest from Manchester United, who are managed by his former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

Earlier this week, Ozil's agent, Erkut Sogut, indicated talks with Arsenal were progressing positively.

"That's my understanding, yes," said Wenger.

"I always said the fact that we didn't find an agreement last year doesn't mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around."

Wenger added that he will have to assess Sanchez's mental state for the game tomorrow after the Chilean saw his World Cup dreams crushed following the loss to Brazil on Tuesday.

"I will have to speak to him," the Arsenal manager said. "I am more concerned that I watched the whole game, Brazil against Chile, to see how difficult the game was and I must say he got some special treatment in this game. It was a very physical game. Mentally, I will have to assess the situation."

Arsenal will be without defender Shkodran Mustafi, who has been ruled out for six weeks while Laurent Koscielny faces a fitness test.

Striker Danny Welbeck (groin) and Ozil (knee) had recovered from their injures and were both training, while defender Sead Kolasinac had a minor hip problem.

Eighth-placed Watford have just one win against Arsenal in eight Premier League meetings but will look to build on their decent start. Arsenal are fifth on 13 points from seven games.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2017, with the headline 'Wenger flags sale of star pair'. Print Edition | Subscribe