Arsene Wenger expects both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to stay at Arsenal beyond the January transfer window unless “something unbelievable” happens.
The pair are out of contract at the end of the season as both have so far opted against signing new deals at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil has recently been linked with a move to Barcelona while Sanchez almost joined Manchester City on the final day of the summer transfer window, only for Arsenal to pull the plug when they failed to land Thomas Lemar as his replacement.
Wenger has reiterated several times since then that he has no concerns over the commitment of the pair, with Sanchez scoring a last-gasp penalty as the Gunners won 1-0 at Burnley on Sunday to move into the Premier League top four.
They host Huddersfield tomorrow night with Ozil likely to be missing through the illness which ruled him out at Turf Moor, but Wenger is now of the belief that the influential duo will not be sold in January – even though they could then walk away for free six months later.
“Yes, I rule it out,” he replied when asked whether he ruled out Ozil and Sanchez leaving in January.
“I do not think about that every day. At the moment, as long as they are here, they have to give their best for the team and for the club.
“In my head, they stay until the end of the season and that’s a decision that was taken at the start of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.”
However, Wenger could not offer Arsenal supporters assurances that either Ozil or Sanchez would be tempted to sign new deals and extend their stays beyond 2018.
“For me, they’ll stay until the end of the season, that’s what I decided at the start of the season,” he added.
“They’re into the final year of their contract. Will they stay longer? That’s impossible to answer today because I don’t know. They have a contract until the end of the season.
“I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it’s my decision, yes (they would stay longer).”
Another player whose contract expires at the end of the season, is England midfielder Jack Wilshere.
The 25-year-old was on loan at Bournemouth last season after a long battle with injuries but has kept fit and has been starring in Arsenal’s Europa League side so far this campaign.
He has been restricted to just three substitute appearances in the Premier League, however, and has been overlooked by England boss Gareth Southgate.
Wenger insists he will take Wilshere’s best interests into consideration when it comes to the decision over offering him a new deal or allowing him to leave in search of regular first-team action.
“I always considered his interest because for me he’s an Arsenal player and has been since he was a kid,” the 68-year-old added.
“He’s a football man and I will always decide what is best for him, that is my first priority no matter what kind of decision I make. I have to consider the interests of Jack Wilshere and Arsenal Football Club together.
“If I think his best interest is to stay here then I will absolutely fight 100 per cent for him to stay here because he’s a guy who is top quality and is back fit now.”