Wenger will stay put... then axe big names

Daily Mail - - Football - by SAMI MOKBEL @SamiMok­bel81_DM

ARSENE Wenger’s back­room team ex­pect to be in­formed of his de­ci­sion to stay dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional break as the French­man gears up for a ruth­less sum­mer over­haul.

Yes­ter­day, Sports­mail re­vealed that Wenger — who is com­ing round to the idea of sell­ing both Alexis Sanchez and Me­sut Ozil — has de­cided he wants to stay at the Emi­rates Sta­dium be­yond the sum­mer when his con­tract ends.

And the French­man’s staff, who re­main in the dark, have re­ceived in­di­ca­tions that he will clar­ify his fu­ture within the next fort­night as un­cer­tainty re­gard­ing his fu­ture has led to fears over jobs.

Wenger’s in­ten­tion to stay will help al­lay those fears and en­sure the club can fo­cus on the end of the sea­son. There re­mains lee­way for him to make a U-turn, par­tic­u­larly if Ar­se­nal do not fin­ish in the top four and fail to win the FA Cup.

The 67-year- old is al­ready pre­par­ing for a busy sum­mer with a num­ber of stars — namely Ozil and Sanchez — un­der­stood to be head­ing for the exit af­ter both re­jected new deals. There are doubts over the com­mit­ment of the pair and a grow­ing sense that it may be best to sell.

Both Ozil and Sanchez en­ter the fi­nal year of their cur­rent deals in the sum­mer, mean­ing the pair could leave for noth­ing 12 months later. The fu­tures of Jack Wil­shere, Kieran Gibbs, Lu­cas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain are also in doubt.

As well as re­place­ments for Ozil and Sanchez, the club are look­ing for a new left back and goal­keeper. Sports­mail un­der­stands Stoke’s Jack But­land is the pre­ferred goal­keep­ing tar­get, while Sun­der­land’s Jor­dan Pick­ford has also been scouted.

Left back tar­gets in­clude Celtic’s Kieran Tier­ney and Monaco’s Ben­jamin Mendy. Celtic’s Moussa Dem­bele and Dort­mund’s Marco Reus are op­tions to re­place Sanchez.

Ar­se­nal striker Olivier Giroud said yes­ter­day that he wants Wenger to stay. He told French TV: ‘We want Arsene Wenger to re­new his con­tract, to con­tinue his ad­ven­ture, be­cause we sup­port him.’

For­mer Ar­se­nal favourite Bacary Sagna ad­mits he is sad­dened by the lack of re­spect Wenger has been shown.

Sagna was brought to Eng­land by Wenger in 2007 be­fore leav­ing for Manch­ester City in 2014. City face Ar­se­nal in the Premier League af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break, and de­feat at the Emi­rates could put Ar­se­nal fur­ther adrift of the Cham­pi­ons League spots.

‘ I am quite sad for the man­ager be­cause he doesn’t de­serve what’s hap­pen­ing,’ said Sagna, whose side also meet Ar­se­nal in the FA Cup semi-fi­nal on April 23.

‘I would like him to stay. Yes, they are hav­ing a tough mo­ment but the play­ers can turn it around. Hope­fully they will not do it against us be­cause I want to be part of a good sea­son for this team.’

PA/REX/EPA

Go­ing nowhere: Wenger is ex­pected to con­firm he will stay at Ar­se­nal in the com­ing days de­spite fan protests

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