Belfast Telegraph

Gunners not interested in offloading Welbeck, says Emery

By Andy Hampson

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery insists England forward Danny Welbeck will not be sold.

Although the Premier League transfer window closed on Thursday evening, other European clubs can buy players from England until the end of August.

Welbeck (27) had been linked with a move away from the Emirates with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of him.

Valencia are one club to have shown an interest in the former Manchester United man, who was part of Gareth Southgate's squad which reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

But Emery explained that Welbeck will not be involved in Arsenal's Premier League opener against Man City tomorrow following his exploits with England.

However, the new head coach - set to take charge of his first competitive game since replacing Arsene Wenger - believes only three players will be allowed to depart over the month, and Welbeck is not one of them.

"We only have three players - Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell - who may have the possibility to leave," said Emery. "But the other players are with us and we are going to work in the Emirates the day before the match with all the players."

Emery could not have been handed a more difficult start to life at Arsenal with a trip to Chelsea following the visit of City.

But the 46-year-old former Paris St-Germain boss is looking forward to taking on fellow Spaniard Pep Guardiola.

"We are excited," he said. "We have ambition to start well against the last winners of the Premier League. Also, I think it's a big and great match that we can play to start this season.

"It's more easy to speak here than on the pitch. City, after two years of working with Guardiola, have more stability, more security, and when you watch City's matches, they are playing with great confidence in themselves."

Emery also risked the early wrath of Arsenal fans as he suggested majority shareholder Stan Kroenke's move to take complete control is a positive thing.

Many fans were unhappy with the news that Kroenke is on the verge of buying out Alisher Usmanov, with the Arsenal Supporters Trust labelling the news as a "dreadful day" for the club.

"I met the Kroenke family in Atlanta and he gave us his commitment in this project," added Emery. "It's positive and his commitment is most important."

Arsenal are without injured defensive duo Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac, while Aaron Ramsey will be hoping to be fit to take his place in midfield.

Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are available for City.

The pair both missed last weekend's Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley after enjoying delayed summer breaks following the World Cup.

"They are available," said Guardiola. "Raheem and Kevin arrived quite well. Three weeks off is not too much time but both arrived in the perfect way."

Guardiola confirmed that City failed in their bid to obtain a work permit for Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz this week.

The 20-year-old, a £10m signing in 2017, was loaned out to Girona last season and is now likely to be sent out again.

City did not get endorsement from the FA for their work permit application and Guardiola was unhappy with the decision.

Guardiola said: "I accept the rules but I don't understand. I am sad and disappointed for Douglas because he could help."

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