Wenger insists Wilshere is not for sale

Wilshere not leaving Arsenal
Wilshere not leaving Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted his club have no intention of selling midfielder Jack Wilshere, after a week of rumours linking him with a move to Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wilshere does not appear to be guaranteed a place in Wenger's side as he prepares to make his comeback from an ankle injury at Burnley on Saturday, yet the Arsenal boss insists he is still a vital piece of his set-up. 

When asked whether Wilshere's future at the club was uncertain, Wenger offered this firm response: "We are not in a position anymore where we have to sell our best players."

“We cannot make a case of any headline in any newspaper in a press conference from things that are not true.”

Wenger also confirmed that Wilshere is ready to make his first team return after recovering from the ankle injury he picked up against Manchester United in November, with his return delayed by the decision to have caps taken off the top of the pins in his ankles.

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta and full-back Mathieu Debuchy are also back for the trip to Turf Moor, with Wenger selecting from a virtually fully fit squad for the first time this season.

With Arsenal sitting second in the table, Wenger was asked whether a late push for the Premier League title was a realistic possibility, but he was quick to side-step that prospect.

"Chelsea have a difficult schedule but so do we. All we can do is master our schedule," he continued.

"What we want is to go as high as we can until the end of the season, give our best and we are also in the semi-final of the FA Cup. We are in an important moment of the Premier League season. It's a period you show your quality by focusing on the next game.

"We had a difficult start, contrary to last season where we had a good start. We had many players out for four, five months after the World Cup.

"Since we have found our cohesion and we feel we have moved forward.

"We have a good team dynamic and hopefully we can maintain that until the end of the season."

When asked whether he had a dream of catching Chelsea at the top of the table he replied: "I have enough experience to know that I have to live with reality and reality is points and the next game.

"The dreams are for everybody – we all have dreams at night. But when I wake up in the morning I have to come here and make sure we give everything to win the next game."

Abou Diaby is also available to Wenger again, as the midfielder looks to make his first Premier League appearance of this season after being out for the best part of two years with a succession of injury problems.