Arsenal: Arsene Wenger Prepared to Take £200 Million Gamble

Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at Emirates Stadium, London, August 11. IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty

Arsene Wenger is willing to take a £200 million (about $258 million) gamble on keeping out-of-contract players, and insists he has the backing of the Arsenal board, according to reports.

The north London club has begun this Premier League season with some of its best players heading into the final year of their contracts.

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all leave for free next summer if new deals are not made, seeing Arsenal write off at least £200 million worth of business.

Earlier this week, Wenge r insisted that none of his star players would be sold during this transfer window but also refused to guarantee they would be at the Emirates after the August 31 deadline closes.

"One hundred per cent never exists, because in our job [guarantees] never exist," said Wenger, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"But today, yes. I think all...three will stay. I will fight for them to stay. It's my decision, but after the board has to, of course, agree with me.

"And if they don't agree we have to consider it as well, and I will accept it. But the board is behind me on that. [Keeping them] is a financial sacrifice; it is a sacrifice that you have to calculate, how much it costs."

Related: Arsene Wenger Admits His Best Player Could Leave Arsenal

And it could be a costly error for Arsenal this season. A variety of clubs, including Manchester City, Chelsea and Bayern Munich wanted Sanchez, who looked unsettled at the Emirates last season. Offers of around £80 million are thought to have been made to Arsenal, but Wenger did not want to sell to a direct rival through fear of negatively affecting his team.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is another target for Antonio Conte's Chelsea, with some reports saying the west London club is confident of landing the 23-year-old midfielder for £35 million.

Chelsea is desperate for signings after losing the opening game of the season 3-2 to Burnley with a slim squad.