Arsene Wenger refused to confirm that Arsenal have offered Alexis Sanchez a new contract worth £300,000-a-week ($375,330) and says the Gunners need to "consider our financial potential" when handing out such tantalising deals.
Reports from last night claim that the north London outfit are prepared to make the Chilean international the highest-paid player in the Premier League with a pre-tax salary of £15.6m-a-year, but Wenger, whose future is also the subject of intense speculation, remained tight-lipped about negotiations with his talisman, but did say that he prefers to play out wide rather than through the middle.
"I cannot confirm we have offered that [contract to Sanchez]," Wenger said in his press conference. "Secondly, we will do as always and consider our financial potential and pay the whole squad.
"He played for a while centre-forward and has the focus needed to score. He plays with an aggressive attitude. Fortunately, he's a player who likes to touch the ball a lot. He prefers to play wide than up front. He can get more of the ball. He has to keep the balance between providing and goalscoring."
The future of Mesut Ozil was also a topic of discussion at Wenger's press conference, and the Arsenal boss confirmed that the club will attempt to try and tie the World Cup winner down to a new contract in the summer. When quizzed about his own future, and his relationship with Stan Kroenke et al, Wenger had little to say.
Asked about Ozil's current situation, Wenger said: "It is difficult to get distracted. You have to focus on the right things. In the summer you have a longer period to negotiate and plan the future."
On the subject of his own future: "Nothing has changed. Our relationship has always been the same, it has not changed. What happens above is not up to me."
Wenger has a number of pressing issues to think about as he heads into the business end of the Premier League season, but his immediate focus is on Arsenal's trip to Middlesbrough on Easter Monday (17 April). The Gunners boss revealed that injured duo Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny are set to return to training and have a chance of being fit for the trip to Teesside, but David Ospina and Lucas Perez, who has also been linked with a move away from Arsenal, remain sidelined.
"We have the chance to get Petr Cech back and Koscielny is joining in today," Wenger added. "If the tests are positive they will be in the squad for Monday. Ospina and Lucas are still out."
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