Martin Keown: Why Arsene Wenger is holding up these two Arsenal contracts
The Arsenal legend doesn't expect Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to sign new deals with Arsene Wenger's future up in the air
Martin Keown believes Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are reluctant to commit to Arsenal until Arsene Wenger’s future is resolved at the north London club.
The Gunners have been in contract negotiations with Ozil and Sanchez over new deals to ensure that their two marquee signings remain at The Emirate in the long term.
However, Arsenal have been left frustrated in their attempts to tie down the duo to new contracts which has led to inevitable uncertainty about whether Ozil and Sanchez will stay at the north London club.
Wenger’s current Arsenal deal is set to expire at the end of the season and it remains to be seen whether the 67-year-old will stay at the three-time Premier League winners beyond the summer.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, former Arsenal defender Keown explained how Wenger is inadvertently holding up the north London side’s proposed contracts for Ozil and Sanchez.
“The difficulty for Arsenal right now is that ordinarily Arsene Wenger would be sitting on a long-term deal, which gives more stability to the team and means players don’t have an extra reason not to commit to a new contract,” Keown said.
“Right now, Sanchez and Ozil might be keeping an eye Wenger’s contract, which expires at the end of the season, and stalling over their new deals because of this.
“Wenger brought them both to the club so he will have been a big part of the reason they decided to sign in the first place. Wenger has a global appeal that shouldn’t be overlooked, and if he decides to leave at the end of the season Arsenal might have to convince Sanchez and Ozil to sign new deals with a new manager at the club, which could be a problem.
Keown added: “Wenger has said he’d rather lose them both for nothing at the ends of their contracts than sell them now, but this is a huge gamble given that their combined transfer value would exceed £80million. There are some big decisions to be made over the next couple of years, and to me, it looks as though Arsenal’s star pair won’t commit their futures to the club.
“I think if it was just one of them nearing the end of their contract, they would have signed by now. But these two players are linked – they arrived at a similar time as the club’s first two real big-money signings, and have become the two most important players in attack. They play very well together, and one will want to make sure that if he signs a new deal his partner in crime will too.”
Arsenal are in fifth place in the Premier League table.