Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has denied reports suggesting Mesut Ozil has agreed a switch to Barcelona.
The 29-year-old is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season and is free to speak to foreign clubs in January over a summer move.
Ozil, who held Arsenal’s club-record transfer tag until Alexandre Lacazette joined in July, has divided opinion on his influence since moving to England but the Germany international put in a man of the match display in last weekend’s north London derby victory over Tottenham.
With Manchester United and Fenerbache also linked with moves for the player, Wenger is keen for both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who finds himself in the same contractual position, to stay.
Asked if claims that Ozil had already agreed terms with Barcelona were true, Wenger said: “No.
“What kind of control can I have over that? All these people have agents who can talk to anybody. That doesn’t disturb people, that happens all through their career.”
Wenger refused to sell either Ozil or Sanchez in the summer despite knowing they could walk away for free in 2018, although that stance softened as a potential move to Manchester City for the latter almost came to fruition on deadline day.
Although neither of Wenger’s top names have signed fresh terms despite negotiations originally opening a year ago, the Frenchman believes they will be honest and is not worried about fielding the pair ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley.
“They are honest. I don’t question their honesty,” he added.
“Nobody knows what will happen when the players reach the end of their contracts. Our worry is to perform on Sunday, that’s it.
“They want to turn up and put in good performances. I have no concerns.
“I am more concerned about the team performance.
“Ozil and Alexis are praised when the team is doing well because of them, and when the team doesn’t do well they get more criticism. I’m more concerned that the team focuses on strong performances.
“My worry is on Sunday. After that, I will care about the second half of the season later.”
Both players are expected to be recalled for the trip to Turf Moor after Wenger made 11 changes for the 1-0 Europa League defeat to Cologne in Germany on Thursday night.
Sean Dyche’s side will go into the game against the Gunners on a high after last week’s 2-0 win over Swansea, and a wealth of attacking options following striker Chris Wood’s return from World Cup play-off duty with New Zealand.
Wood is expected to start in place of Ashley Barnes, who scored one of the goals against the Swans, while Sam Vokes, who appeared as a late substitute, will also be hoping for a start.
Dyche insisted he is not concerned by the memories of twin controversies in the two games against Arsenal last season — a Laurent Koscielny winner at Turf Moor and a late Alexis Sanchez penalty to deny Burnley a point at the Emirates.
Dyche added: “I’m not worried about righting the wrongs — I’m sure Arsene knows that I think those decisions went against us.
“It is an opportunity to measure ourselves against one of the top clubs in the division. It’s about building on what we have been doing and so far we have been doing well with that.
“There is no exact measurement— beyond the result, it is about how you are performing against the most powerful teams over a season.”
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