Arsene Wenger says Arsenal are doing their utmost to persuade Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new contracts at the Emirates but he can’t offer assurances at the moment that deals will be done.
Stressing that both players are fully committed to the Gunners the boss played up the fact that 18 months is a long time in football and that negotiations have no impact on the duo or the wider dressing room. He also dismissed suggestions that Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for the players.
There were two main batches of questions on the subject of contract renewals in his Friday press conference, here’s what the boss said.
There’s a lot of uncertainty this week over the long-term futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, they both have 18 months left on their contracts…
It depends what you call long-term, 18 months is quite long in football, you know.
I hear what you say, but what assurances can you give to Arsenal fans right now?
None. They have 18 months contract and that they are completely committed to do well, as long as they are here.
And beyond that?
Beyond that, we’ll try to extend their contract. I cannot make a subject of that in every press conference because that’s a normal part of every renewal when you negotiate. The less you talk about it, the better it is.
Alexis Sanchez apparently has an offer for £400,000 a week to go to China. When you hear that kind of thing, do you believe it?
I believe it, yes. Why not? But why should you go to China today when you play in England?
You’ve said it’s not just about the money it’s about the other things and meeting the players needs…just how important is that side of things to players?
I believe we live in a world where the great players like Sanchez and Ozil earn a lot of money. They have the privilege to choose where they really want to play.
Will you have to break the current wage structure to keep them? And are you prepared to do that?
Look, like always we do the maximum we can for every single player.
Mesut Ozil apparently, if he isn’t prepared to take less money, the club would be willing to listen to offers. Is that true?
No. I don’t know where you find this. These players have 18 months contract and no matter what happens they will stay 18 months and hopefully much longer.
In the past when players have run their contracts down here into the final year – I’m thinking Robin van Persie – you decided to sell them. Is that not going to happen with Ozil and Sanchez?
I’m not the only one who can decide that, contract negotiations, in this case are between two parties. On my side, the best position is to achieve it earlier.
But if you get to next summer and there’s no agreement, are you saying you wouldn’t sell either of them?
I told you that these players will stay for at least 18 months. I cannot repeat always the same things. At some stage you have as well to accept that negotiations are private and secret and we do not always have to come out and explain every day what we do in football negotiations. We are professional people, we work until the last day of our contracts with full commitment.