Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has moved to quell speculation linking captain Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny with moves away from the club after praising the defensive duo.
Both players, who have been key first-team regulars this season, were dropped for the midweek Champions League match at Bayern Munich following below-par displays in recent months.
Wenger's decision to omit the pair has fuelled reports that the pair will be sold in the summer, but the Frenchman was full of praise when asked about them.
He said: "Szczesny? I rate him highly and have a big respect for what he's done.
"And Vermaelen? He is a very important part of our squad. He has a fantastic attitude and motivation."