LONDON — Arsene Wenger has ruled out selling Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil in January “unless something unbelievable happens.”
Wenger had earlier opened the door for a possible January sale by saying it was “possible” the club would try to cash in on the duo rather than allowing them to leave for free when their contracts expire in the summer.
However, he told a news conference on Tuesday that neither player will leave in the winter transfer window.
“Yes, I rule it out,” Wenger said ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League game against Huddersfield Town. “For me, they stay until the end of the season — that’s what I decided at the start of the season. They go into the final year of their contract.
“Will they stay longer? That’s impossible to answer today because I don’t know.”
Wenger similarly ruled out selling either player in the summer, only to change his mind on Sanchez in the final days of the transfer window. However, a £60 million deal with Manchester City fell through on deadline day when Arsenal failed to bring in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a replacement.
The Arsenal boss left room for manoeuvre when pressed on the issue, saying: “I do not think every day about [their futures] at the moment.
“As long as they are here, they have to give their best for the team and for the club. In my head, they stay until the end of the season.
“Unless something unbelievable happens, I don’t think it should change.”
Wenger was more vague regarding Jack Wilshere’s future, however. Wilshere is also in the final year of his contract and has yet to start a league game this season.
A decision on whether to hand the midfielder a new contract is expected to be made in December, but Wenger hinted that Wilshere’s status is still up in the air and urged him to only focus on the next game.
“I don’t think long-term for him,” he said. “I always considered his interest because for me he’s an Arsenal player since he’s a kid, and he’s a football man. I will always decide what is the best for him — that is my first priority no matter what kind of decision I make — and I have to consider the interest of Jack Wilshere and Arsenal Football Club together.
“If I think his best interest is to stay here, I will absolutely fight 100 percent for him to stay here, because he’s a guy who is top quality and who is back fit now. And that’s for me, when you have a top-quality player you want him to be at Arsenal Football Club.”
Wilshere could get a chance to start against Huddersfield as Ozil remains doubtful after an illness ruled him out of Sunday’s win at Burnley.
Wenger said Ozil was set to train on Tuesday and would be assessed afterwards, while Alex Iwobi is also doubtful with a minor leg problem.
However, the Arsenal boss also said he has no intention of rotating his squad against Huddersfield despite a crucial game against Manchester United coming up on Saturday.
“The most important game is tomorrow night. No matter what happens after, we have a good chance tomorrow to take three points at home,” he said. “That is the only thing that matters. I have a big enough squad to deal with the rest after this game.”