Arsene Wenger has given the biggest indication yet that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil could both be sold in January.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
With the duo out of contract on July 1, 2018, they are free to negotiate a free summer transfer with non-English teams from January 1.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s game at Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) Wenger said no deadline has been set for new deals to be signed and admitted it is possible for them to be sold in January.
“No, not at the moment,” Wenger said about a deadline for new deals, before adding: “Once you are in our kind of situation we have envisaged every kind of solution yes. Yes, it’s possible [they will be sold in January].”
This update from Wenger comes 24 hours after Ozil’s agent suggested there had been positive talks between Arsenal and his client and that the German playmaker wants to stay in the Premier League for the next two to three years.
Wenger agreed that Ozil’s situation is looking much more positive.
“That’s my understanding, yes. I always said that the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave,” Wenger said. “Both [Ozil and Alexis] look happy here and overall I hope that the situation can be turned around. At the moment, we are not close enough to announcing anything.”
So, close, but no cigar.
Ozil seems the more likely to stick around at Arsenal, which could divide opinion among fans but Alexis’ future is more uncertain.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City continued to be linked with a move for the Chilean superstar who is now dealing with the disappointment of not reaching the 2018 World Cup with his nation.
As for Ozil, he’s been linked with a move to Manchester United and if Arsenal could get a sizable transfer fee from United in January, six months before he could leave for free, should they take that deal?
If clubs offer $30 million each for Sanchez and Ozil in January, without the duo signing a new deal at Arsenal, then they should be sold and everyone can move on from this draining, seemingly endless saga. Of course, the players would have to agree to a move away and they’d likely dig their heels in to remain at Arsenal then leave for free in the summer when they could potentially bag a much bigger signing-on bonus from a new team.
These comments from Wenger were likely meant to try and speed up the process and find out once and for all if the duo intend to stay beyond this season. The mind games continue.