• Gunners boss still confident that contract rebels like Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will stay put until the summer.
  • Frenchman also claims that negotiations with Jack Wilshere are scheduled to begin in late December.
  • Wenger: "I consider him as an Arsenal man."

Arsene Wenger insists there has never been any approach from Manchester United regarding Mesut Ozil and claims that contract talks between Arsenal and Jack Wilshere will begin at the end of December.

Ozil, like Alexis Sanchez, Wilshere and long-term injury absentee Santi Cazorla, is out of contract next summer and protracted discussions over a possible extension seem unlikely to bear fruit.

Jose Mourinho is said to be eager to reunite with a player whose three-year stint at Real Madrid between 2010-13 coincided with his own tumultuous spell in the Spanish capital, with the latest reports suggesting that he will consider offloading out-of-favour playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan in order to make room for the 29-year-old, who has also been heavily linked with a January transfer to Barcelona.

United's aim would appear to be to sign Ozil on a free transfer at the end of the season rather than try to convince Arsenal into selling another high-profile player to their old rivals during the mid-season window.

"We've never been approached by Manchester United," Wenger was quoted as saying by at his pre-Newcastle United press conference on Friday (15 December). "I don't see why that came up or who found that. That has always been something that has been created."

Asked again if Ozil would remain at Arsenal beyond January, he added: "Until the end of the season, for sure. The rest is open."

Wenger reiterated his belief that all of Arsenal's soon-to-be out-of-contract players would stay until the summer and also asserted that Theo Walcott definitely still had a future at the Emirates Stadium despite the long-serving forward - whose own deal runs out in 2019 - making just three substitute appearances in the Premier League so far this term.

Wilshere, meanwhile, made his first top-flight start in 577 days for Arsenal in the goalless London derby draw with West Ham United in midweek and after the match revealed that there was no update with regards to his contract situation, with no set "date in the diary for talks".

Wenger previously maintained that negotiations would begin in December to give the injury-prone academy graduate six months to recover from a latest fitness setback that called a premature end to his season-long loan stint at Bournemouth in 2016-17.

Slightly revising his previous timeline for discussions with Wilshere, Wenger said: "We'll talk to him at the end of December. It's the beginning of December, so it's not far.

"I wanted to see how much he can contribute and last physically. It's of course important for him to be happy here. I consider him as an Arsenal man."

Put to Wenger that Wilshere's recent form was doing his chances of earning an extension no harm at all, the manager, who labelled his individual performance at West Ham as encouraging, responded: "That's for sure."

Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil
Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil are both out of contract at the end of the season