ARSENE WENGER has warned Manchester City he will fight to keep Alexis Sanchez away from Premier League rivals.
The Arsenal boss has piled the pressure on keeping his star man by insisting the contract-rebel will stay at the club, while also admitting he and any other top club would be interested in teen sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Wenger previously insisted Robin van Persie was going nowhere – but the Dutchman ended up at Manchester United.
He said: “The players have contracts and we expect them to respect them – that’s what we want.
“It is a continuation of what I said at the end of last season, that you wouldn’t sell him to a Premier League club.”
Wenger, speaking in Sydney on the club’s pre-season tour, confirmed Arsenal are in for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.
But he also says Sanchez is part of his plans next season and could even sign a contract extension.
He added: “You have to make up your mind. I think the easiest way to manage in the final year – it is in his interests to do as well as he can.
“Nobody knows today if he will be in the final year next season, because he can extend the contract with us at the start or during the season.
“So it is not necessarily the last year of his contract at Arsenal Football Club.”
Wenger is also ready to keep Olivier Giroud at the club despite being behind Alexandre Lacazette in the pecking order after the French striker arrived for £52.6million from Lyon.
He said: “We extended his contract last year. Our resolution is clear. He’s been great value to the squad and I think he is a great lover of the club. He’s always been very determined to stay.
“It’s always the same problem – when you have one striker people ask ‘why don’t buy another?’ and when you have two or three they say they will be unhappy because there is too much competition.
“That’s part of the job. We are in a job where we are very lucky to do what we love but it is competitive job and that means the players have to accept competition and my decisions as well, unfortunately.”
Lacazette is set to make his Arsenal debut on Thursday against Sydney FC.
Wenger also admitted Mbappe has the red carpet rolled out for a blockbuster move to ANY club he wants.
The Frenchmans wants the £120million-rated Monaco youngster, but Real Madrid are favourites for him and every bank-rolled club are interested in signing him.
Manchester United and City have also tracked the 18-year-old’s progress and Paris Saint-Germain also have him on their hitlist.
Wenger said: “He’s a player who when he gets up in the morning, he can choose where he wants to go.
“There’s not many with that kind of luck at 18 years of age.
“All of Europe has the red carpet rolled out for him.
“I believe nobody can say he is not interested in a player of that calibre because he’s got such a rare and immense quality at 18 years of age. All the clubs are interested in him.”
Wenger has splashed the cash himself on club-record signing Lacazette for £52.6m, with Sead Kolasinac arriving on a free transfer from Schalke.
Per wants to go out with a bang before bossing kids
PER MERTESACKER wants to go out with a bang in his final season at Arsenal.
The Gunners skipper has been appointed Academy manager but will play for a year before hanging up his boots.
He said: “I am now preparing for my last season and want to enjoy my last season as much as I can then we can speak about the next season and a new role without being a player.
“I am very excited about this season, to finish my career well and start off after I bid farewell.
“The decision on whether to top was difficult. I was fortunate to play for 15 years and could make my own decision which is something I wanted.
“When Arsenal had the idea I was up for it. To stop playing at the highest level is good for me.
“Even if I could have gone somewhere else or gone to Germany for a couple of seasons.
“I’m looking forward to my new role staying in football. Those were the kind of things that convinced myself. My family is happy in London. What comes with that role we will define that in the next year.”
Mertesacker suffered an injury nightmare last season but his first start of the season was the FA Cup final win against Chelsea.
He said: “I could not believe quite that I have got a game in me like that. Looking back it was a fairytale ending to the season.
“Now I am trying to do everything I can to better and get another chance to start off well and not be injured – that is my target.”
After helping win the cup, he was then appointed in his new role.
He added: “I felt a lot of pride.
“It shows that the club believes in me, not only as a player but they also see me to develop young players – that’s why I am very happy and privileged to take over from next season.
“That was my first decision to stop playing, to realise to stop after good and very long career.
“I enjoyed always being vocal to young players in training. I never saw myself as a coach. To gain experience will be key to my next chapter. Once Arsenal had the idea I slowly started to think about my purpose after playing.”
Both have travelled to Sydney for the pre-season tour which sees them play two games in Australia before travelling to China.
The Gunners boss added: “We play football based on movement our tech quality and mobility and I believe they can integrate well.
“One is defender who can play flanks and central one is striker with very good goalscoring record. I believe they are great additions. This is a good opportunity to have a first look.”
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