Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has lambasted Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for the wage demands they are making of the club.
The comment come as part of a Sky Sports debate in which Gary Neville and Graeme Souness also gave their views. Ozil, and in particular Sanchez, have been the life-blood of Arsenal this season and a number of clubs across Europe would be happy to acquire their services in the January transfer window. Their sense that they are crucial to the team’s success, coupled with the circling of footballing superpowers, has lead to extravagant wage demands being made at Arsenal and it’s unclear whether the club intend on meeting them.
Henry clearly thinks the claims are outlandish in the extreme, far beyond the current worth of either player.
“Those two players are vital for the future of the club, they have to secure that deal,” said Henry. “But to what extent? I don’t know if Arsene is going to want to pay those numbers.”
“They are amazing but if they are on that amount of money, I want a hat-trick every week – and also when there’s no game! You need to be in a situation where you’ve won something already for the club to ask for that amount of money.”
This insinuation that they need to win something to be in a position to demand such wages would echo the sentiment of a lot of Arsenal fans. This season has almost appeared to be a caricature of previous years. A positive initial few months was blunted by a disappointing November and while an encouraging couple of weeks followed, they have now lost their last two games and trail Chelsea by 9 points. The loss against Manchester City was particularly noteworthy given how diabolical Ozil was, appearing barely interested in proceedings. Perhaps it is this attitude that means he will never guide Arsenal to the top of English football, and thus be truly deserving of the wages he demands.
Souness was certainly clear in his assessment of what was needed to merit such a salary.
“They are asking for money that is only given to players who have won the big trophies,” said the Scot. “And they haven’t won any big trophies.”
The obvious worry for Arsenal fans in the wake of all this is how they can replace either player should they leave the Emirates.
Such worry is shared by Henry.
“But if they don’t sign, who are you going to bring after that?” asked the Arsenal legend. “What’s the future?”
Ironically however, it was ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville who painted Arsenal Football Club in the most positive light when speaking on the club’s legacy with or without either player.
“Arsenal have had far better players than them over the last 20 years,” said Neville. “I wouldn’t worry too much about them holding the club to ransom…Make them an offer and if they don’t stay let them go. Arsenal Football Club will still be here in a 100 years’ time.”