ALEXIS Sanchez’s return, and the latest on Thomas Lemar, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere.
Catch up on the latest Arsenal transfer rumours!
Arsene Wenger has revealed unsettled Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez could return to action in this weekend’s Premier League clash at Liverpool.
PL: Arsenal had all the possession but couldn’t convert that into clear-cut chances as Stoke City debutant scored the only goal in his side’s 1-0 win.
Stoke shock listless Gunners
Sanchez has just one year remaining on his current Arsenal contract and is keen to leave the Emirates Stadium.
He could walk away for free at the end of this season if no new deal is agreed but, amid interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, Gunners boss Wenger has insisted Sanchez will not be sold.
Sanchez has missed Arsenal’s opening three games of the new campaign with an abdominal strain, but Wenger says the Chile forward is now ready to feature at Anfield on Sunday.
“Alexis has worked very hard to be back again and he is available,” Wenger said on Thursday.
“He works very hard, is focused and gives absolutely everything. He loves to play so much that it is sometimes difficult to stop him but he looks absolutely ready.
“He has not played for a long time so I will have to decide what I do with him but he looks ready to play.”
While other high-profile Premier League transfer targets have been left out of their respective sides at the start of the term, ahead of the August 31 deadline, Wenger is unconcerned about Sanchez having his head turned by a move.
“He has always been focused on his job, he loves to play football and I don’t think he is too disturbed by all the noises that happen,” he said.
PL: Arsenal suffered a controversial 1-0 defeat at Stoke — with striker Alexandre Lacazette denied an equaliser courtesy of a razor-thin offside decision
Arsenal denied by offside
“Players at that level are used to it now, some deal better with it than others but I don’t think he is too bothered by that.”
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar during the window, potentially as a replacement for Sanchez if he were to depart.
But Wenger conceded on Thursday that the France international will not be making the move across the Channel as the Ligue 1 champions face losing some of their other title-winning stars.
“It’s dead because Monaco have closed the door,” he said.
“They are still on cases like (Kylian) Mbappe and Fabinho.
“They’ve already lost Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko, so Monaco are at a stage where they have closed the door.”
Wenger, who signed his own two-year renewal with Arsenal in May, has several players who, like Sanchez, have contracts that expire in 2018.
One of those is England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also linked to Chelsea, but Wenger is adamant the 24-year-old remains a key member of his squad moving forward.
“We all have our agendas that are quite busy but we do not publish them. Some people look better informed than I am!” he said.
“I want him to stay and be one of the big players of the future of this club. He is one of the players this team has to be built around in the future.”
However, The Mirror reported Arsenal are facing the prospect of having to sell Oxlade-Chamberlain before the end of the window so he doesn’t leave for free next summer.
Meanwhile, Wenger has challenged Jack Wilshere to earn a new Arsenal deal, but admits the chance to do so may come elsewhere.
The 25-year-old played on loan at Bournemouth last season and missed the end of the campaign with a leg fracture, but is now back in training with the Gunners.
He has been linked with another temporary move, with Aston Villa and Sampdoria reportedly interested in the England international, although he may yet remain in north London to try and stake his place in the Gunners’ side.
Wilshere has less than a year on his current contract and Wenger wants to see improvements if he is to be offered fresh terms.
“If he gets back to his best and wants to stay, we have to sit down, I think, later in the season. I don’t rule that out,” the Frenchman said when asked if he planned to offer Wilshere a new deal.
“You know how much I love Jack and his talent, I started him at the age of 17 but today in the football world you need to be a consistent presence.
“What is at stake for Jack is not his quality, his talent or his determination, it is whether he is a consistent presence at the top.
“I hope he can manage to do that and after nobody questions his quality.”
As for the possibility of a further loan move for Wilshere, Wenger did suggest he may yet leave the Emirates to show his worth elsewhere.
Football: Jack Wilshere sees red after a horrible challenge from Matt Smith.
Wilshere hammered, sees red
“I’m open, you know, with Jack. We have honest conversations and I’m open to what is the best for him,” added Wenger.
“He is at the stage of his career where he needs to play and I can guarantee him today that, and I think I’m quite open on that.”
Wilshere has been working his way back to fitness by turning of for Arsenal’s U23 team, although he want sent off in Monday’s 4-3 win over Manchester City.
He had impressed until the second-half flashpoint when he reacted to a poor challenge from Tyreke Wilson, which saw both players dismissed.
“At my stage and with my experience in football, I can understand a lot – especially with what has happened to him,” Wenger said when asked about Wilshere’s reaction.
“Ideally he shouldn’t have responded at all but when you have gone through what he has gone through, with bad tackles, it was a human reaction.
“At the moment he is working very hard to come back after his fracture so overall another setback would be terrible and it was a bad tackle.”
Originally published as Sanchez’s return, Lemar verdict, Wilshere’s task
Source: sports dailytelegraph