Arsene Wenger has called reports linking Watford attacker Troy Deeney with a move to Arsenal "rubbish," and claimed speculation tying Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea are also nonsense.
According to James Olley of the London Evening Telegraph, Wenger distanced his club from both rumours in a short-but-sweet manner:
James Olley @JamesOlley
Wenger asked if Arsenal interest in Deeney and report of Ox going to Chelsea is "rubbish". He says "yes".2016-1-8 09:18:45
Deeney has been in dazzling form for the Hornets during their rise to ninth in the Premier League and has six goals this season, leading to rumours he could be ready for a step up to one of England's higher powers.
The former Walsall striker recently spoke to talkSPORT's Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast and admitted that while his son would love to see him join the Gunners, it's a move that just isn't on the cards:
No, no, no. We have still got a project to complete. The pleasing thing from my point of view and from Iggy's [Odion Ighalo] is people want us. That shows that we have been doing something right for the past five, six months.
But we have got a project to complete and the gaffer has stated before that whatever happens in the summer, will happen in the summer. It is very flattering. My son is an Arsenal fan so he read it in the paper the other day and I don’t think he is happy that I am staying at Watford. He doesn’t understand that it is not FIFA and you can’t change the same day!
Perhaps a transfer could be made possible in the summer, when Watford are better positioned to sign a replacement for their star, but until then, the top-flight new boys will hold onto Deeney's talents.
Hornets manager Quique Sanchez Flores also weighed in on the reports, according to Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail, and said a winter exit for Deeney or Ighalo is "completely impossible":
Sam Cunningham @samcunningham
Quique Sanchez Flores has warned #mufc and #arsenal off Ighalo and Deeney, saying a Jan move is 'completely impossible.' Story @MailSport.2016-1-7 13:02:00
While Deeney, Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled through a combination of injury setbacks and a lack of exposure in the first team.
However, the Sun's Shaun Custis reported Chelsea were lining the 22-year-old up as a possible replacement for Eden Hazard should the Belgian happen to follow axed manager Jose Mourinho out of the club's exit this year.
The England international has appeared from the bench in 13 of his 24 outings this season and played the full 90 minutes just twice, but Wenger doesn't appear any more open to the idea of selling his starlet.
It's been a difficult year for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Opta's Orbinho recently put into numbers just how severe his strain to find good form has been:
22 Premier League games without a goal or an assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain. Just one assist to show in the last 34.2016-1-2 16:28:55
The former Southampton prodigy is trying to find his place in a lineup that also comprises the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, with no clear definition whether he's best on the wings or in midfield.
Not only is Wenger not looking to cash in on Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the idea of selling to a direct rival is sure to be even less favoured by the Frenchman, who will continue to place faith in his budding star, good form or not.