Arsene Wenger has provided a double transfer update with regards to the futures of Kieran Gibbs and Lucas Perez with both players linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer.
The former is on the final year of his contract with the Gunners and there has been no talk of an extension on his current deal. Gibbs has been linked with moves to West Bromwich Albion and most recently, Watford.
The English left-back joined Arsenal on a free transfer from MK Dons in 2004 and has progressed through the youth ranks to become an established member of the first-team. Gibbs has made 229 appearances for the senior squad, according to Transfermarkt, but he has struggled for game time in recent seasons following the emergence of Nacho Monreal as the manager's preferred choice.
The 27-year-old was left out of Wenger's pre-season tour squad, which traveled to Australia and China and was also omitted from the squad that won the Emirates Cup on Sunday (30 July). Gibbs was expected to play for the Arsenal XI that took on Boreham Wood but took ill ahead of the game.
Gibbs' omission from the squad preparing for the upcoming campaign indicated that he was being allowed to sort out his future, but Wenger refused to elaborate on the situation, simply stating that the left-back had one-year remaining on his current deal.
Perez, meanwhile, has come out and stated that he wants to leave Arsenal after being overlooked on a number of occasions last season. The striker who was bought in the latter stages of last summer's transfer window from Deportivo La Coruna spent the 2016/17 campaign as the Gunners' fourth choice striker.
The 29-year-old's agent has confirmed that there is an offer from his former employers and that the striker wants to leave. The French coach however indicated that he will remain in the club when answering in the affirmative about his involvement in the upcoming campaign while also revealing that he is currently injured.
"He has one year to go [on his contract]," Wenger said when asked about Gibbs future at the club and answered a simple "yes" when questioned if Perez will be involved in the upcoming campaign.
'Willock joining first-team'
Wenger is known for his affinity to give young players an opportunity to play in the first-team if he believes they have the right quality. The Frenchman continued the trend this summer when he included a bunch of youth-team players as part of the pre-season tour squad that travelled to Australia and China.
Reiss Nelson, Chris Willock, Cohen Bramall, Krystian Bielik and Eddie Nketiah were part of the traveling squad and were involved in most of the games during the tour. The first three among the aforementioned quintet also got a nod for the recently concluded Emirates Cup, which Arsenal won.
Wenger has pinpointed Nelson and Willock as the two closest to stepping up to the first-team after their impressive performances against Benfica and Sevilla respectively. The latter started the game against the La Liga side in midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey and put in a good shift. There were lapses due to his inexperience but the Arsenal manager is confident he will have a bright future after praising his football brain and his ability to analyse a game.
"He needs to play regularly for the under-23s and gain a little bit more physical power. He's only 17 and that's very young, but he has a good football brain and analyses very well," Wenger said, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
"I hope that he will come into the team very quickly to challenge the established players who are playing at the moment," he added.