Arsene Wenger has dealt the latest blow of Liverpool's disappointing 2017 summer transfer window to date by confirming categorically that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will remain at Arsenal despite speculation linking him with a move to Anfield.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's future at the Emirates Stadium has been subject to considerable doubt over recent weeks, with The Sunday Times reporting in June that he was set to inform the Gunners of his desire to leave after six years in order to secure a regular starting berth and fulfil his potential in one position.
The same publication suggested that the player was of real interest to Jurgen Klopp, with Arsenal said to be demanding £25m ($32.7m) to part with the versatile England midfielder.
Liverpool completed the club-record capture of Mohamed Salah from AS Roma last month and also signed England Under-20 World Cup star Dominic Solanke from Chelsea, yet have been met with repeated frustration in their pursuit of other key targets such as RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita and Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
It looks like the Merseyside club can now cross Oxlade-Chamberlain off their list of prospective new arrivals, with Wenger, speaking in a press conference after watching his side beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 in their second pre-season friendly clash in Australia, insisting beyond doubt that the 23-year-old will not be sold.
"Yes, 100 per cent I expect him to stay," the manager was quoted as saying by Arsenal's official website. "There is no speculation - no matter what happens he will stay."
Oxlade-Chamberlain started and played 67 minutes of that aforementioned win in Australia, although it was Olivier Giroud that drew the most plaudits. The latter netted a stylish opener at ANZ Stadium and generally outshone new £52m recruit Alexandre Lacazette, leading Wenger to reiterate again that he expects him to stay put also amid interest from the likes of Everton, West Ham United, Borussia Dortmund, Lyon and Marseille.
"There is a lot of speculation, I have many times said that I have a huge respect for Olivier Giroud for the man he is and the way he loves our club. Even with all the speculation he is focused and does his job. I always said [that I expect him to stay], I was always consistent with that."
Asked how he might use both strikers moving forward, Wenger added: "Lacazette will play most of the time as centre forward. He can play in any system because he's a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 442. At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well."