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Wenger: Cazorla Could Return In January, Wilshere Stronger, I Wanted Mbappe

Wenger: Cazorla Could Return In January, Wilshere Stronger, I Wanted Mbappe

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that long term absentee Santi Cazorla could return in January from injury.

Cazorla last played for Arsenal in November 2016 after suffering an ankle injury which has kept him out of action.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s home game against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, Wenger also gave details about the fitness of other players.

“He (Cazorla)is having his first run today. The flexibility and mobility of his ankle looks good. It is difficult to predict when he will be available. Not before Christmas, that’s why he isn’t in Europa League squad but hopefully in the new year,” Wenger said.

“I don’t know yet (Wilshere). I haven’t decided. He still needs some fitness work but he is in a positive way. He is getting better and better.

“Sanchez, Ospina, Ramsey are back today. We will see and check them. We have no injuries at the moment. Wilshere is getting stronger every day. No big problems.”

Commenting on Arsenal’s weekend game against Bournemouth, Wenger expressed confidence that Arsenal will recover from their early season setbacks following losses to Stoke City and Liverpool.

He added:”It is never a good time to play anybody. It is a good time for us to focus on our performance. We will win back the points we have dropped away from home.

It is vital to take some perspective.”

On the transfer issue involving Sanchez and Thomas Lemar, Wenger said: “I have no doubt about his mentality. He needs to come back to full fitness, which he wasn’t at Liverpool. Hopefully, he will be back to his best. I believe that the transfer market is over. There was a lot going on on that front. It is very difficult for me to speak about that.

“Lemar is now in Monaco and Sanchez is here. He wanted to stay at Monaco. After that, we have to keep a confidentiality about negotiations.  A lot of things happened in the last few seconds.”

And on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool and Kylian Mbappe almost joining Arsenal, Wenger said: “We wish him well and all the best (Chamberlain). At the end of the day, you make decisions and we had to sell somebody. Overall, I feel that we are in a strong financial situation today and have a good enough squad to compete. I think he is a great player but sometimes it opens the door for Nelson or Willock to get an opportunity. I cannot come out with every single conversation I have with the players. The talks between the player and manager is secret.

“I believe that we were on the case last year. He (Mbappe) was close to joining us last year – closer than this year because of the competition for him.

“For 90 percent of the players, their career depends on where they choose to go. For 10 percent, they will be a success wherever they will go and he is one of them. He is an exceptional footballer.”

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