Belfast Telegraph

Gunners might have to cash in on Sanchez and Ozil, admits Wenger

By Jim van Wijk

Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal may be forced to sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in January to avoid the pair leaving for free next summer.

Both are out of contract at the end of the season and, despite lengthy negotiations, neither have agreed to extend their current deals.

The stalemate leaves Arsenal facing the possibility of their two star players departing for free, and Wenger conceded selling mid-season is one solution.

"It is possible," he said. "Once you're in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes."

Asked if the club had set a deadline for talks to be resolved, Wenger said: "No. Not at the moment."

Ozil's agent indicated this week his client was keen to stay in the Premier League and that negotiations with Arsenal were progressing "in a positive way".

When that assessment was put to Wenger, the Frenchman said: "That's my understanding, yes.

"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."

Ozil is back in training after recovering from a knee injury and could play against Watford tomorrow, but Sanchez will have to be assessed following Chile's agonising defeat to Brazil, which meant they failed to qualify for next year's World Cup.

There was disappointment too for Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, who suffered a thigh injury playing for Germany against Azerbaijan and will be out for four to six weeks. Mustafi's absence may at least be offset by the return of Laurent Koscielny, however, who is close to overcoming an Achilles problem.

On Sanchez, Wenger added: "I will have to speak to him. I watched the whole Brazil against Chile game to see how difficult the game was.

"I must say he got some special treatment - it was a very physical game and mentally I will have to assess the situation when he comes back."

Aaron Ramsey also endured World Cup heartache this week after Wales' hopes of qualification were ended by defeat at home to the Republic of Ireland.

Wenger is confident Sanchez and Ramsey's club form, however, will not be affected.

"I don't think so. I believe that he, like Aaron Ramsey, are winners," Wenger said.

Jack Wilshere does still have the chance to play in Russia next summer but the midfielder must first prove his fitness, both to Wenger and England boss Gareth Southgate.

Wilshere was not included in Southgate's most recent squad but, with England struggling for creativity in central midfield, a return to form could prove timely.

"I believe that Jack at the moment is in the best form I've seen him in for a long time," Wenger said. "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."

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