Sevilla president plays down N'Zonzi to Arsenal talk, says no offers received
Sevilla president Jose Castro says his club have not received any offers for Steven N'Zonzi amid reports the midfielder is an Arsenal target in the winter transfer window.
N'Zonzi, who left Premier League side Stoke City two-and-a-half-years ago for Sevilla, was in London this week, fuelling speculation that a move to Arsenal is close.
However, Castro says that the 28-year-old's trip to the English capital was of a personal nature and not related to football.
Castro told his club's website: "There is no offer whatsoever for N'Zonzi. If we received one, we would study it, but he is training normally, not apart from the squad. Right now he has the club's permission to visit his son [who is in London]."
N'Zonzi, who also played for Blackburn in the Premier League, denied reports that he was in London to discuss a return to England.
He told France Football: "I'm indeed in London, but it has nothing to do with a transfer or with football. I've come to see my son, who lives here, and to take advantage and spend time with him. As you can see, it has nothing to do with signing for Arsenal or anyone else."
Tied to Sevilla until June 2020, N'Zonzi has not featured for the club since being replaced at half-time of their 3-3 Champions League draw with Liverpool on Nov. 21 after a reported bust-up with coach Eduardo Berizzo.
N'Zonzi was again left out of Sevilla's squad for their final Group E game at Maribor on Wednesday. The Spanish side need a point in Slovenia on Wednesday to progress to the round of 16 of the competition.
"It's a technical decision as we've said in the past and we must respect it," Castro said. "All technical decisions are reversible and they [the coaches] are the ones that decide."
N'Zonzi, who signed a one-year extension to his contract earlier this year and saw his release clause increase from €30 million to a reported €40m, has declared his intention to leave the club in January.
He said: "My future is somewhere else than Sevilla. I train with the squad but when it comes to the games, I'm not selected. It hurts, of course.
"It won't last long. I just have to wait until after December and it will stop there, that's for sure. I hope the team qualifies for the Champions League and is lucky in the future, but I will not be part of this adventure."
N'Zonzi made 37 starts in all competitions for Sevilla in the 2015-16 season to help them win the Europa League and reach the Copa del Rey final, while he started in 34 La Liga games last term.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.