Football

Wenger: Oezil, Sanchez to be replaced by 'top players' if they leave

Arsene Wenger moved to allay the fears of Arsenal fans yesterday, saying he would replace both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Oezil with world-class players, should they end up leaving.

Both Sanchez, who came close to joining Manchester City on the final day of the August transfer window, and Oezil's contracts are up at the end of the season.

Sanchez's attitude and commitment to the club have been questioned by fans and some of his teammates did not congratulate the 29-year-old Chilean after he scored a double in last Thursday's 3-2 Premier League win over Crystal Palace.

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ARSENAL CHELSEA

Wenger said he would also be on the look-out for players in this transfer window.

"We are open to any position for the exceptional player that can give us a plus. It depends a little bit on the injuries as well," said the Arsenal manager on the eve of their match with Chelsea.

"On the other hand, it depends if we manage to extend the contracts of the players who are at the end of their contracts in June.

"We have to take the consequences of those decisions and respond to it. How we cope with that, first of all we have not lost them yet, and secondly, we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality.

"This club has lost many, many big players and has always responded well."

However, the 68-year-old Frenchman refuted suggestions he was targeting Chelsea's Brazil centre back David Luiz or French international midfielder Thomas Lemar from Monaco.

The failure to sign Lemar in August led to the collapse of the Sanchez move to Man City.

The Gunners are fifth in the table, six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool but with a game in hand. - AFP

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