Wenger will stay put... then axe big names
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.’
Going nowhere: Wenger is expected to confirm he will stay at Arsenal in the coming days despite fan protests