Arsenal’s efforts to pen new contracts with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been put on hold until the summer, as reported by Bein Sports (via the BBC).
The contracts of both players have been a running saga at the club for some time, as the pair have previously reportedly demanded £20 million salaries to remain at the club. Despite the undoubtable quality of both, whether they are worth such exorbitant money has been a pressing question for many at the club.
Indeed, it’s hard to justify retaining the services of players who have been part of Arsenal’s spectacular exit from the Champions League and limp leave of absence from the Premier League title race for such high wages.
Speaking specifically on Sanchez’s situation, Wenger was quoted as saying:
“At the moment we have not got an agreement.
“We have decided to focus on the end of the season and talk about it during the summer.
“It is the same situation with Ozil, because once you don’t find an agreement and the negotiation lasts, it is not good.
“It is better you get it out and sit down in the summer.”
Such comments can be interpreted a number of different ways by Arsenal fans. Delaying such talks may further jeopardise the ability of the club to retain the services of Sanchez and Ozil, Arsenal’s most impressive performers this year. One would assume that those competing for the signatures of such coveted superstars will not be inclined to wait until the summer to make offers.
However, one could equally argue that the move appears prudent in light of recent events at the club. Four defeats in the last five games leave the Gunners sixth in the Premier League and with a mammoth task of rescuing a Champions League spot.
Such a situation warrants the full attention of Wenger and his players rather than having their focus diverted by protracted contracted negotiations. Many of the Emirates faithful would likely be quick to point out that such a dip in form has happened despite the presence of Ozil and Sanchez, and surely such recent performances are proof enough that they aren’t worth the sums of money in question.
Given the contract situation around Wenger himself remains the subject of much scrutiny, it’s likely to be an eventful summer for Arsenal, for better or worse.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena