Mesut Ozil says selling Alexis Sanchez would hit Arsenal 'quite hard'
Chilean has entered final year of his contract with Manchester City credited with an interest in signing him
Mesut Ozil believes it would "hit the team quite hard" if Arsenal sold Alexis Sanchez in the summer transfer window.
Manager Arsene Wenger claims the Chile forward has not told him he wants to leave the Emirates Stadium, after Sanchez said during the Confederations Cup in Russia he knew where he would be playing next season but stopped short of announcing his plans.
Manchester City are reported to be ready to offer the former Barcelona forward wages of some £400,000 per week (Dh1.9 million) should he opt to push for a move ahead of the final year of his current contract rather than pen a new deal with Arsenal.
German playmaker Ozil, who himself has yet to commit to a contract extension, is in no doubt of the importance of Sanchez, who has been given some extra time off as the rest of the squad headed to Australia for the start of pre-season before matches with Bayern Munich in Shanghai and then Chelsea in Beijing.
Speaking in an interview at the launch of Arsenal's third kit in Sydney, Ozil said on Sky Sports News: "I hope Alexis stays, but I do not know what the status is to be perfectly honest, but I value him a lot as a player and he is very well suited to the game Arsenal play. So from a personal view I would really appreciate it if he stays. However, it's the player's decision after all.
"It would hit the team quite hard if he left because he is a player who always delivers. It would be a setback to winning the title but in the end it is a player's decision."
Arsenal have already moved to strengthen their squad with the addition of France forward Alexandre Lacazette in a club-record deal from Lyon following the free transfer of left-back Sead Kolasinac from Schalke.
Monaco's Thomas Lemar is said to now top Wenger's wanted list.
Club captain Per Mertesacker, who is set to take over at the Arsenal Academy from the 2018/19 season, believes Arsenal focused on bringing talent in rather than allowing key men like Sanchez to depart.
"We have a strong squad and we do not want to lose any players. Even in their final contract year we need them," the German said.
"We cannot afford to lose them. If you're talking about championships, then to keep our best player is the key.
"He [Sanchez] is a warrior on the pitch, and I think he wants to come back as quickly as possible because he hates holidays, he hates to calm down, so I am really looking forward to playing alongside him in my last season, and I think he thinks the same."
The arrival of Lacazette, whom the club confirmed would wear the number nine shirt next season, has cast doubt on the future of Olivier Giroud.
The France forward is a reported target for both Everton and West Ham, although Gunners boss Wenger insists the 30-year-old remains part of his plans.
Giroud, though, will just take things as they come, with the squad as they prepare for Thursday's friendly against Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium.
"Honestly I don't know (about my future). For the moment. I'm still an Arsenal player and try to be professional like I always have done and to prepare well for the next season," Giroud said.
"Obviously, there will be more competition - even more than last year, but it's always nice for a striker to feel the pressure.
"I always deal with it. I've been through some difficulty this last year, but always succeed to bounce back.
"I don't know about my future, so can't tell you more ... focused on my pre-season."
Updated: July 12, 2017 04:41 PM