Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded on Thursday he may have no option but to sell star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window.
The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and are yet to agree new deals.
As things stand, they will be able to leave the Emirates Stadium for free, meaning January will be Arsenal’s last opportunity to cash in on their two most high-profile players.
“It is possible,” Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side’s trip to Watford on Saturday. “Once you’re in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes.”
Asked if Arsenal had set a deadline for contract negotiations with the pair to conclude, Wenger replied: “No. Not at the moment.”
Chile forward Sanchez, 28, joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014, a year after 28-year-old Germany playmaker Ozil’s arrival from Real Madrid.
The signings electrified Arsenal’s fan base, but for all their quality, the duo have thus far been unable to end the club’s 14-year wait for the Premier League title.
Sanchez has been linked with a number of major clubs, among them Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Ozil, meanwhile, is reported to have attracted interest from Manchester United, who are managed by his former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.
Earlier this week, Ozil’s agent, Erkut Sogut, indicated talks with Arsenal were progressing positively.
“That’s my understanding, yes,” said Wenger.
“I always said the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around.”
Here, we take a look at three big transfer stories dominating the headlines across Europe on Thursday.
Could Bale leave Madrid? His long-term Whites future is certainly up for debate.
Let us know your thoughts.
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale could be on the move to Manchester United in the summer, according to El Confidencial.
The Welsh wizard, who has endured an injury-plagued 18 months at the Bernabeu, has been linked with a return to the Premier League.
Bale, who was signed by Los Blancos from Tottenham for £86m back in 2013, has won three Champions League titles with the Whites – but has had to face-up to the Madridista boo boys recently after inconsistent showings and recurring injuries.
Indeed, Florentino Perez is reportedly willing to part with the player if he can recoup the majority of cash they splashed out on him four years ago.
The form of both Marco Asensio and Isco has also given Real increased attacking presence, diminishing Bale’s contributions.
VERDICT: The 28-year-old is contracted to the Spanish capital club until 2022 but it looks unlikely he will see out those terms. Expect Spurs and other clubs to up their interest in January, with a view to signing Bale at the end of the season.
Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United striker Anthony Martial in the January transfer window, according to The Daily Express.
The French forward is a player Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admires – and is an obvious target – given Alexis Sanchez’s contract expires at the end of the season.
However, Martial has starred for Jose Mourinho’s team this term, netting five goals in all competitions – making it unlikely the Red Devils will want to disregard a player they have entrusted plenty of faith in since his arrival in 2015.
Nevertheless, Arsenal are set to test United’s resolve in the winter window and may even ask their close rivals to take him on loan.
Tottenham are also interested in the 21-year-old.
VERDICT: Martial is part of Mourinho’s Old Trafford plans and he won’t want to sell to a Premier League rival.
Playmaker Mesut Ozil is set to end his contract stand-off with Arsenal and pen a new deal with the club.
According to his agent, Erkut Sogut, the Gunner is ready to commit his future to the club until 2022 – with his current deal expiring at the end of next season.
The news is a significant boost for Arsenal and allays fears that he could leave the club on a free, with growing interest from clubs in La Liga and the Bundesliga.
Sogut told Fanatik: “He (Mesut) wants to play in the Premier League for at least two to three more years.
“Our contact with Arsenal continues and we are moving in a positive direction.”
VERDICT: A new deal looks very likely now and that is important news for Arsenal as they look to bring out the very best in Ozil again this term.
JOSE MOURINHO’s time at Manchester United could be extended by another five years, according to The Sun. The manager, who joined United for three years in 2016, looks set to sign a new deal worth £65 million, the paper says. Executives appear to be pleased with United’s performance this season so far, with the club currently sitting level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Uncertainty surrounds PHILIPPE COUTINHO’s future at Liverpool as Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau said the Spanish club are poised to make another offer for the midfielder in the January transfer window, according to The Guardian. Barcelona previously made three offers for the 25-year-old in the summer but each was turned down by the Reds. Now Grau has said, “We are ready to sign Coutinho or any other player the technical staff request in the winter window,” the paper reports.
JUAN MATA seems happy to continue his career at Manchester United after turning down an offer from the Chinese Super League, the Daily Mirror reports. The midfielder rejected a potential £165,000-a-week pay packet to stay in the Premier League. The 29-year-old’s contract will come to an end next year but United have the option to extend his current deal by 12 months.
Rivals Manchester United and Manchester City are both said to be targeting Monaco player FABINHO, The Sun reports. United have shown interest in the Brazilian before but their offers have never come to pass. But he is now said to be on the radar of Pep Guardiola after putting in impressive performances following a switch from right-back to a more central position.
CALUM CHAMBERS has completed a contract extension deal with Arsenal, The Daily Mirror reports. The defender spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough but is said to have impressed Arsene Wenger since his return in the summer to earn a one-year contract extension, meaning he will remain at the Emirates until 2021.
@The Sunfootball – Manchester United battle Arsenal to sign Bundesliga star
@talkSPORT – Some transfers are already looking likely in January
Motherwell under-20 star ADAM LIVINGSTONE has not gone unnoticed by a number of English clubs, the Motherwell Times reports. The 19-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is said to have caught the attention of Bristol City. His current form has seen him score three goals in eight appearances this season.
JACK WILSHERE is considering his position at Arsenal as he eyes a place in England’s Word Cup squad, The Daily Mirror says. With little game time this season, the 25-year-old is said to be thinking about leaving the club in a bid to make the starting XI elsewhere and improve his chances of going to Russia next year.