Saturday 21 April 2018

Wenger plays down fears over futures of Ozil and Sanchez

There is much for Arsene Wenger to address in the coming weeks. Picture Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
There is much for Arsene Wenger to address in the coming weeks. Picture Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Mark Ogden

Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal supporters not to be concerned by the news key duo Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are yet to agree new deals with the club.

The pair have less than two years to run on their respective contracts and talks have been taking place for some time, but Wenger admitted on the eve of the new Premier League season that there was no update to offer.

As the Gunners go into the new campaign with a lack of defensive options, Wenger is also fielding questions on his front line.

Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are both facing long spells on the sidelines, while fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny has not played in pre-season after reaching the final of Euro 2016 with France.

But Wenger would also not be drawn into revealing if the club were closing in on a deal to bring in Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi, the 24-year-old Germany international linked with a move to the Emirates, or on Ozil and Sanchez.

Asked if he had an update on the contract negotiations of Sanchez and club-record signing Ozil, he replied: "No. We keep that internal. We make progress always, but it is not always a quick process. They still have two years contract and there is no urgency as well.

"They (Arsenal fans) have no reason to be concerned. At the moment we have priorities, and most of the time contract extensions are done outside the win because it gives you a bit more time and focus on that."

Asked about the potential signing of defender Mustafi, Wenger simply said: "I cannot tell you."

The Frenchman admitted after Mertesacker's injury that he needed to go back into the market for a new defender, despite adding Rob Holding from Bolton.

Mertesacker was ruled out for four months before Gabriel suffered an ankle injury late on in last Sunday's 3-2 friendly win over Manchester City in Sweden.

"I believe Per Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel for six to eight weeks," said Wenger, who is also likely to be without Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson for tomororw's opening fixture against Liverpool.

"That's a bit better than expected because he doesn't need surgery. He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months but he should be all right."

Arsenal have so far signed Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka for a fee in the region of £30m, but fans have become increasingly agitated in recent weeks as the likes of Manchester United and Man City splash the cash.

Irish Independent

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