Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Arsene Wenger promises 'top quality' replacements if Arsenal duo leave

Arsene Wenger has pledged to bring in top-class replacements if Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil decide to leave Arsenal.

Wenger said they are yet to be contacted by any interested clubs but insisted the Gunners will not suffer if the duo depart.

Sanchez and Ozil are yet to extend their contracts, which expire in the summer, and are now free to speak to foreign clubs in January.

Wenger will be on the lookout for new signings too this month, but admitted he will adjust his plans depending on Sanchez and Ozil's situation.

"We are out there and look of course to do some things," Wenger said.

"We will do but when is very difficult to say because that does not depend only on us. We are open to any position for the exceptional player that can give us a plus. It depends a little bit on the injuries as well.

"On the other hand it depends if we manage to extend the contracts of the players who are at the end of their contracts in June.

"It will depend on that as well. We have to take the consequences of those decisions and respond to it.

"How we cope with that, first of all we have not lost them yet, and secondly we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality.

"This club has lost many, many big players and has always responded well. Massive players have left this club and the club will always be in a strong position on that front."

Wenger, however, dismissed speculation linking Arsenal with moves for Chelsea defender David Luiz and Monaco forward Thomas Lemar.

He said: "I don't want to think about any special names, but these reports are wrong."

Arsenal host Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday as they attempt to regain momentum following Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Brom.

Wenger and his players were left incensed by referee Mike Dean's decision to award a late penalty for a Calum Chambers handball, as Jay Rodriguez converted to rescue West Brom a point.

"It was very disappointing," Wenger said. "What is more frustrating for me is it happened many times this season - at Stoke, Watford, Man City, now West Brom.

"It is a concerning coincidence for me. That is why as well I was not at all happy with the movement the referee made as to why he gave the penalty. It did not correspond at all with what happened.

"On that front it's a bit worrying. He saw what he wanted to see."

Sead Kolasinac limped off against West Brom after taking a knock to his ankle and the defender is now expected to be out for a minimum of two weeks.

Laurent Koscielny is also still struggling with an Achilles injury, with Wenger rating the Frenchman's chances of facing Chelsea at 30 per cent. Ozil, who has a knee problem, has a "small chance" and will be assessed.

Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are both out with hamstring injuries, along with Nacho Monreal who has an ankle problem.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph