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Arsenal ready to play hardball with Alexis as Chelsea made favorites for his signature already

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Transfer rumors are amazing things.  One innocent line dropped in the middle of a random report escalates to a full-blown crisis in less than 24 hours.  Fam, there's panic in the streets, blud!

That said, when your club's own manager refuses to reassure, maybe it is time to panic.

"I can give no assurances on their Arsenal future, but 18 months is quite long in football."

"They are completely committed and try to do well. We are trying to extend their contract. But when you negotiate, the less you talk about it, the better it is. Players like Ozil and Alexis make a lot of money and have the privilege to make a choice where they want to play. We will do anything to get them to extend."

"I believe there could be a big offer for Alexis from China, but why would he go to China if he plays in England. We will not sell Ozil. They will definitely stay for 18 months and hopefully for much longer. I will not consider selling them at the end of the season."

"Contract talks are part of the job. It has always been difficult. When the players are high-profile names, you get asked the same things over and over again. But that does not affect the speed of negotiations or decision making. Sometimes things go really fast and sometimes they take a bit longer. Talks will not have any effect on the dressing room. That is not a problem."

-Arsene Wenger; source: Goal

So that's all a bit silly (it's not China you should be worried about, Arsene!) -- reminds me a bit of how BVB handled the Lewandowski situation, who ended up leaving for one of their biggest rivals anyway and without a penny in return as compensation -- but obviously 18 months is indeed a long time.  For what's it worth (very little), the bookies already made Chelsea the favorites for Alexis's signature.

Meanwhile, Alexis himself has done more to reassure Arsenal fans than their club's manager, by posting something on Instagram about the "Invincibles", so they've got going for them, which is nice.