Football

Oezil fears the worst for Arsenal if Sanchez leaves the club

Mesut Oezil says it would "hit the team quite hard" if Arsenal sold Alexis Sanchez in the summer transfer window.

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 (S$712,000) per week 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 Oezil, who himself has yet to commit to a contract extension, is in no doubt of the importance of Sanchez.

Speaking in an interview at the launch of Arsenal's third kit in Sydney, Oezil told 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.

NO. 9

The arrival of Lacazette, whom the club confirmed would wear the No. 9 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 today'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 don't know about my future, so can't tell you more, I'm focused on my pre-season." 
- PA SPORT

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