Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 March 2019

Arsenal keen on Mbappe but Sanchez did not ask to leave, insists Wenger

Much speculation surrounds future of Chile forward, but Premier League club manager says he will stay put.

Alexis Sanchez, seen in a Chile shirt after the Confederations Cup final, is rumoured to be happy at Arsenal. Carl Recine / Reuters
Alexis Sanchez, seen in a Chile shirt after the Confederations Cup final, is rumoured to be happy at Arsenal. Carl Recine / Reuters

Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez has not told him he wants to leave Arsenal. He also said he was keen to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.

Speculation has mounted over the future of Sanchez, the Chile forward, this summer, with his contract at the Emirates Stadium expiring at the end of the upcoming season.

However, Wenger believes the 28-year-old player - 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."

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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," Wenger added. "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."

Wenger also said Arsenal are keen on in-demand Monaco teenager Mbappe, while confirming club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette will make his debut on their pre-season tour of Australia.

Mbappe, 18, has reportedly been the subject of world record offers from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and has also been linked with Manchester United.

Wenger said he was always interested in young talent.

"He's a player who when he gets up in the morning can choose where he wants to go. Not many players have that kind of luck," the veteran Frenchman said in Sydney where Arsenal are on a pre-season tour.

"He is just 18 years of age and it is all of Europe who has the red carpet out for him.

"I believe nobody can say he is not interested in a player of that kind because he has such immense quality at 18 that all the clubs are open and interested in him."

Wenger is also said to be keen on Mbappe's Monaco teammate Thomas Lemar as a supporting attacker to Lacazette, whose move from Lyon to the Gunners was sealed last week for a club-record fee that could rise to €60 million (Dh251m).

But the Arsenal manager would not be drawn on the chances of landing Lemar.

"That's all speculation at the moment, there is nothing really concrete about any signing. He's a player that we have looked at, but the rest is only speculation," he said.

Updated: July 11, 2017 09:09 AM



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