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Wenger: Arsenal must keep British core

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Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to retain their British core. Same. To an extent.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger, perhaps in an effort to kickstart the club negotiating contracts, has said that Arsenal must keep their British core, namely Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs. Three of those four (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere and Gibbs) are out of contract following the 2017-18 season, and thus are entering the phase where either they renew or Arsenal sell them. Wenger doesn’t want the latter, at least in public:

We have to keep them all. Ramsey, Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs. All these players we have to make decisions and manage to keep them together

The prospect of losing Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to alarm Wenger in particular (or perhaps he was just asked about Oxlade-Chamberlain specifically), with Wenger saying “it’s vital that Chamberlain stays at Arsenal,” who would suffer “big damage” if they lost “this type of player.”

It was reported last week that Arsenal were going to enter negotiations with Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter seemingly keen to obtain a new contract, given that his agent has been linking all sorts of clubs to him (hint: if a player is leaving, it’s never 3 or 4 clubs that are lining up for him. And never Everton).

Of course, whether this is a valuable use of Arsenal’s resources is another question. Aaron Ramsey has been in and out of the side due to injury, as has Oxlade-Chamberlain. While both have contributed while fit, keeping them fit is a tougher question. Kieran Gibbs has started 6 league games over the past two season, failing to establish himself as a reasonable alternative for Nacho Monreal, and Jack Wilshere, on loan at Bournemouth, while remaining relatively fit, hasn’t had an outstanding season for the Cherries, and was dropped for their run of recent success, with Eddie Howe going for a more secure midfield pairing.