Ivan Gazidis says that Arsenal’s decision to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this summer shows that the club are not driven by financial imperatives, and insists that only those on the inside really know what’s going on when it comes to the contractual stand-offs of the two star players.
Both expire next June and there currently appears to be little chance of either of them extending, but the chief executive hinted that the demands made from the players side are part of the inability to find an agreement.
With players at a point in their careers where their next contract is likely to be their last big one, the wage packets will be an issue, but that still doesn’t alter the fact that the club’s lack of success at Premier League and Champions League level will be a significant factor too.
Speaking with reference to the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012, Gazidis said, “We were told then that we were financially motivated and not focused on football.
“This summer, with stronger underlying financials, we have taken a different tack. The decisions on Alexis and Mesut Ozil are certainly not decisions that fit the narrative that we put money first.
“We have taken that approach to give the club the best possible chance to compete for trophies this season.”
He then addressed their futures, and difficulties of getting contract extensions done.
“You don’t always have a choice of where you sell a player – nor do you control whether a player extends with you or what demands their agent makes,” he said.
“None of this information is going to be in the public domain. Those on the outside don’t know the dynamics, don’t know the demands being made, don’t know the constraints.
“It’s quite possible that, in retrospect, people may say that some of the decisions we have made this summer prove to be wrong or foolhardy.
“We need to be humble, continue to learn and continue to evolve our thinking and our approach, but it’s also absolutely clear that the decisions we’ve made don’t fit the narrative from some that we are financially motivated.”