Arsene Wenger says that players who receive massive pay increases can find themselves in a comfort zone because of that, but believes it’s a consequence of club’s having to find the balance between keeping existing talent and bringing in new players in the transfer market.
The former boss was speaking after being given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards – presented to him by one of his great successes, Cesc Fabregas – and it came with reference to the ongoing situation involving Mesut Ozil at Arsenal.
The German was handed a £350,000 a week contract to entice him to stay last February, a negotiation handled by Dick Law under the auspices of Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, but since then his performances and impact on the team have been far less than people expected.
This season he has completed 90 minutes in the Premier League just six times, and has been used just once since December 26th.
Wenger said, “I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team, but sometimes there are special cases.
“Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practise or they play their best, because they might be in their comfort zone.
“He has a contract but the problem is that, if you want to buy a player like him, you have to spend £100m. And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.
“To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m,” he continued.
“So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”
Ozil is expected to be fit for this Thursday’s Europa League clash with BATE Borisov, whether he’s picked or not remains to be seen.