Arsene Wenger does not believe Alexis Sanchez is going anywhere.
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Well, those were his words but the way he spoke in Sydney, Australia, there wasn’t too much conviction in his voice.
Speaking in Sydney after Arsenal touched down for their preseason tour of Australia and the Far East, Wenger told reporters that outlets in Chile were incorrect when stating Sanchez had told Wenger he wants to leave.
Was this the case?
“No,” Wenger said. “Nobody knows today if Sanchez will be in the final year of his contract next season, because he can as well extend his contract with us at the start of the season or during the season, so it’s not necessarily the last year of his contract with Arsenal.”
If Sanchez does leave the Emirates, it appears Wenger has plenty of players in mind to replace him.
Wenger insisted that Olivier Giroud wanted to remain at Arsenal despite the club-record signing of striker Alexandre Lacazette last week — Wenger revealed Lacazette will make his debut against Sydney FC on Thursday, plus Arsenal’s new striker will wear the no.9 jersey — while he also raved about Kylian Mbappe from Monaco and declared his interest in signing another Monaco star, winger Thomas Lemar.
The Frenchman admitted Lemar is “a player we look at” and that “there will be more signings” but there’s nothing more concrete at the moment.
Arsenal is said to have had one bid turned down for Lemar, with Monaco demanding over $60 million for the 21-year-old French international.
As for Mbappe, Wenger revealed Arsenal’s interest in the 18-year-old but also said “all of Europe has a red carpet open for him” as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and others chase the teenage sensation who helped Monaco win Ligue 1 and reach the UEFA Champions League semifinals last season.
The fact that Wenger was talking more about ins than outs will please Arsenal fans, but those lingering doubts over Sanchez and Mesut Ozil sticking around grow each and every day they don’t sign a new deal. It appears any potential signing day is no closer with Sanchez still on vacation after his summer excursions for Chile in the Confederations Cup.