The Times claims Arsenal won’t hold contract renewal talks with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil until the end of the season and that the club ‘face a battle’ to persuade the duo to sign new deals.
Matt Hughes’ ‘exclusive’ continues: “The club had hoped to avoid either player entering the final two years of their deals and opened negotiations with both of their representatives last year, but they have failed to progress and will not be resumed until the end of the season.”
There’s chat of £160,000-a-week being on the table for each man, but they’ll wait and see if the Gunners make next season’s Champions League before deciding on their future.
We’ll cut to the chase. This looks like a non-story. We’re playing poorly so it’s the easiest thing in the world to write stuff that preys on the worst fears of fans.
So, let’s examine the evidence. For six months the noises from both Ozil and Arsene Wenger have been that there’s no rush to negotiate new contracts and that focus will turn to the matter at the end of the season.
“At the end of the year, they have two-and-a-half years left on their contract so we still have some time. We are not in a hurry. Of course, we want them to stay here at the club and we will start the negotiations at some stage. At the moment we have not started them. From the New Year to the summer we will certainly start it [talks] with all the players who have two years to go at the end of the season.”
Wenger on Ozil & Sanchez contracts, 19 November 2015
“My contract runs until 2018, that is for another two and a half years. There is no need to hurry. There are no talks at the moment but I can only say that I am very happy in London and that my decision to come here from Real Madrid was the right one.”
Mesut Ozil on his contract, 22 December 2015
“We’ll deal with that later in the season. At the moment we focus more on the present. We’ll deal with that around May.”
Wenger on Ozil & Sanchez contracts, 23 December 2015
“Yes, I am confident [they will sign new deals]. Yes, they have a two-year contract left and there’s been nothing done yet. They look happy, when I talk to them they are happy and they want to extend their contracts so I don’t think it is a problem. That will be done in the break, in the summer.”
Wenger on Ozil & Sanchez contracts, 2 April 2016
Now look, it’s more than possible that Ozil and Sanchez are weighing up where they want to play their football in 2018/19. After all, Wenger, the man who signed them, is out of contract a year before they are and both players have made clear in the past that he was a major reason for them signing on at the Emirates in the first place.
Arseblog News suspects that contract questions will be on the media agenda when Wenger faces the press on Friday ahead of Sunday’s clash at Sunderland.
We’re almost certain he’ll continue to bat them away – both those on his own future and that of his players – until after the final day of the season.