Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger today refused to give any clear indication over the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri but stated that no player is irreplaceable.
Fabregas has been omitted from the squad for tomorrow's Barclays Premier League opener at Newcastle while the fitness of Nasri, who is suffering from an illness, is being monitored.
Wenger last night appeared resigned to losing the duo, with Fabregas on the brink of joining Barcelona and Nasri close to agreeing a transfer to Manchester City.
But this morning the Frenchman gave a series of non-committal answers when questioned over their departures.
"I expect nobody to leave the club," he said at the club's training ground, confirming that Fabregas has not gone on strike.
When asked if therefore they will stay, Wenger responded: "That's a good conclusion from my statement.
"I believe the best thing for us, one day before the season starts, is not to focus on the possible transfers.
"I cannot say it will never happen, I cannot say it will happen.
"At the moment there is no news and if we have any news to give you, I promise you we will do it.
"What we want today is to focus on the players who play tomorrow and not the players who do not play.
"The players who can help the club achieve performances are more important than the players who don't.
"I will decide what is best for the club. The first quality for a player is to have talent, the second is wanting to play where he is.
"You demand commitment to the club and the desire to achieve things. That is only possible if you really want to do it."
Fabregas has been agitating for a move to Barcelona, the club he left as a 16-year-old in 2003, for the past two summers but Nasri's desire to leave emerged far more recently.
The prospect of losing arguably his two best players must be daunting for Wenger, but the 61-year-old insists replacements can be found if necessary.
"We are all replaceable. All the cemeteries are full of replaceable people," he said.
"But you do not want to lose big players, we fight to have big players so you do not want to lose them.
"I'm not disappointed in Cesc's behaviour. My personal feelings are not important. I take nothing personally.
"I have not been disappointed by Cesc's attitude and not by Samir's attitude. They have both been professional.
"The transfer speculation is disruptive but not an excuse. We have to deal with that, it is part of our job. People come in and out.
"We have had speculation every year. I believe it is part of our job and we have to deal with that."
Wenger denied losing the duo would mean Arsenal are no longer a big club.
"Manchester United let (Cristiano) Ronaldo go, do you think they are not a big club?"
He was also adamant he was in no hurry to bring new players in.
"Do we want to buy? I don't know because at the moment we have too big a squad, we have too many players," he said.
Wenger expects Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title, despite the uncertainty that now shrouds the Emirates Stadium.
"We feel we were very close last year and that we can improve from what we achieved last year. We will be in there, don't worry," he said.
"Why? Because we are a young team and a young team can only get better."
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes believes a deal to bring Fabregas back to the Nou Camp is close.
When asked at a press conference today if the arrival of Fabregas was imminent, Valdes was quoted as saying by AS: "It hope so yes and, if the news is confirmed it will be great news, above all for one person, a friend, and the Barcelona fans.
"I'm not disclosing anything, but as you know it is advanced, and although it is not official it will surely be closed very soon."
Asked if, right now, he could imagine a Barca without Fabregas next season, the goalkeeper added: "I can't imagine it. I think that the news is almost confirmed and he will surely come, but anything could happen.
"I think that it will be confirmed and I'm very happy."
Despite the lack of official confirmation of a deal being reached, Barca's central defensive pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique took to Twitter this afternoon to welcome their Spain colleague back to the Nou Camp.
Barca captain Puyol posted: "Welcome home!!! Happy to have you here @cesc4official ooohhhh."
Pique tweeted: "@cesc4official. Now we have him here!"Reuse content