Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez has not told him he wants to leave Arsenal.
Speculation has mounted over the future of the Chile forward this summer, with Sanchez’s contract at the Emirates expiring at the end of the upcoming season.
However, Wenger believes the 28-year-old – who last month said he knew where he would be playing next season but stopped short of announcing his plans – could still extend his stay in north London.
“The players come back and we expect them to respect their contracts,” Wenger said in quotes broadcast by Sky Sports News HQ.
Asked whether Sanchez had told him he wanted to leave, the Frenchman added: “No. 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.”
Manchester City are reported to be among the former Barcelona star’s admirers, but Wenger reiterated that he would not be prepared to sell to a rival Premier League club.
“That’s in the continuity of what I said at the end of the season; that’s what we will do,” he added.
Wenger also admitted his interest in Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, but admits there will be plenty of competition for the 18-year-old’s services.
“He’s a player who, when he gets up in the morning, can chose where he wants to go,” added Wenger.
“There are not many players with that kind of luck because he’s 18 years of age and all of Europe has a red carpet open for him. Nobody can say he is not interested in a player of that calibre, all the clubs are interested in him.”
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Romelu Lukaku revealed that his record move to Manchester United was inspired by Paul Pogba’s arrival at Old Trafford as he began training with the Premier League giants in Los Angeles on Monday.
A relaxed-looking Lukaku signed autographs for fans and posed for photos at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, where United are training this week as their five-match pre-season US tour gets under way.
The 24-year-old Lukaku joined up with the United squad just hours after his reported 75 million pound ($97 million, 85.5m euro) transfer from Everton was officially completed. The five-year deal — which will see Lukaku pocket more than 200,000 pounds per week — is a record transfer between two English clubs.
The Belgian international striker quickly got into the groove, taking part in passing drills with French star Pogba and other team-mates in blazing sunshine at the UCLA facility near Beverly Hills.
In his first interview since becoming a United player, Lukaku told the club’s television channel that his decision to seek a move to Old Trafford had come after seeing Pogba join the club last year.
Pogba and Lukaku, who share the same agent, are close friends and were on holiday in Beverly Hills last week together before the deal was completed.
Lukaku, who could make his debut in Saturday’s tour opener against the Los Angeles Galaxy, told MUTV Pogba had played a “big role” in his transfer.
“He is one of my best friends and he is my neighbour as well,” Lukaku said.
“We are always together on a daily basis so he would explain to me how things were going. Last season when he signed for United, to have witnessed that, it really triggered something in my brain and I knew that if one day I had the chance to sign then I would not say no.
“You just know and realise how big the club is, and the hunger it has to win trophies. I would like to say, at the end of my career, that I played for a team that has always challenged for trophies and this is what the club has always done.
“To be here now is a blessing and I will not take this opportunity for granted.”
Real Madrid’s new French left-back Theo Hernandez said Monday he joined the Spanish champions from cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid because he wants to learn from the “world’s best players”.
“I am very happy to be here, the best club in the world, and I have come here to learn from the best players in the world,” the 19-year-old said at his official presentation at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
“I am going to follow their footsteps and try to improve each day,” he added later at his first press conference as a Real player.
Hernandez, who impressed while on loan at Basque side Alaves last season, signed with Real for the next six seasons for a reported fee of 30 million euros ($34 million).
He rejected numerous offers of a new deal from Atletico, where he was under contract until 2021, and other European clubs, reiterating his desire to play for Real Madrid.
Liverpool and Real’s arch rivals Barcelona were both reportedly chasing the player.
“You are a Real player because of your talent, because of what you have shown you can do despite being extremely young and because of your personality,” Real president Florentino Perez said before presenting Hernandez with a team jersey bearing his name and the number 15.
“You wanted to wear this jersey above all others even though other big clubs, as we all know, wanted you. Your determination and conviction are gestures which Real fans will not forget.”
Hernandez, a France Under-20 international, joined Atletico in 2008 aged 11 but never made a first team appearance for the side.
He played 38 games for Alaves on loan last season as they reached the Copa Del Rey final, where he scored a thunderbolt free-kick in a 3-1 defeat by Barcelona at Atletico’s old Vicente Calderon stadium — his only competitive appearance there.
The player’s father Jean-Francois Hernandez was also a professional footballer with Toulouse, Marseille and Atletico, while his elder brother Lucas Hernandez also plays for Diego Simeone’s capital-city side.