Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have had no contact with Paris Saint-Germain regarding a deal for Alexis Sanchez and reiterates that it is "possible" that the Chilean forward could yet choose to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Sanchez, along with teammate Mesut Ozil, has entered the final 12 months of his contract in north London and the ceaseless rumours regarding his future cast a long shadow over Arsenal's 2016-17 campaign. Such speculation has continued throughout the summer, with the 28-year-old's return to training delayed by the Confederations Cup and a bout of illness.
It was confirmed on Wednesday morning (9 August) that Sanchez, who sat out the Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley but did join in with the post-match celebrations, would miss Friday night's (11 August) Premier League curtain-raiser against Leicester City and likely the subsequent trip to Stoke City due to an abdominal strain.
A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has long been thought to be the most likely option for Sanchez, while PSG continue to be heavily linked with his services despite recently completing a world-record deal to acquire Neymar from Barcelona.
The Independent recently reported that the big-spending Ligue 1 giants were prepared to offer £80m ($103.8m) to beat City to that particular signing, although Wenger believes the cash-rich Ligue 1 side are instead looking to raid domestic rivals AS Monaco and sign the widely-coveted teenage striker Kylian Mbappe.
"No, we have not," Wenger was quoted as saying by football.london at his pre-Leicester press conference when asked if he had been in touch with PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "It's a long time I didn't speak to Nasser, because it's certainly very busy to complete the transfer of Neymar and it's a long time that I didn't speak to him.
"No, no [he does not expect any contact over the coming weeks]. I think if you read the French papers, they are on Mbappe's case to finish their transfer market... Look, that's what I read in the papers and on my side I have had no contact at all with Paris Saint-Germain."
Quizzed as to whether Arsenal had fielded any offers at all for Sanchez, the manager replied: "I can't tell you that at the moment. I just think we are not open - what I said to you many times - to any offers, anyway."
If Sanchez does not accept his new contract offer and the Gunners remain steadfast in their desire not to sell, then Arsenal risk losing him for nothing in the summer of 2018. Wenger, though, does not yet appear to have given up hope that his most influential player will pen fresh terms before then.
"All is possible you know," he said. "When a player goes into the final year of their contract we will try to extend the contract because there is no reason we shouldn't do it, but we are not there yet."