This season has the potential to become something of a watershed moment for Arsenal. Questions about the future of their manager as well as two of their star players are beginning to fester. Arsenal badly wants to sign Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to contract extensions soon, as each player’s current deal expires in 18 months. With the club’s inconsistent form, signing the two superstars to long term deals would hopefully add some stability. But in the business side of the game, nothing is ever that simple.
It’s been reported that both Ozil and Sanchez are looking for massive raises. With Paul Pogba now making nearly £300,000 a week, the two Arsenal attackers are hoping to close that gap. Ozil and Sanchez are currently earning £140,000 and £130,000 a week, respectively.
Paying those kinds of wages are becoming increasingly necessary in England. Players aren’t stupid, and they know the clubs are pulling in massive amounts of TV revenue. Throw in the fact that teams in China are backing up dump trucks full of cash to players doorsteps, and you have a market that heavily favors the on pitch talent. If Arsenal wants to lock up both players for years, meeting the large contract demands is going to have to be a reality.
The simple solution is, of course, to give the players the deals they want. But the reality is never that easy. Arsenal has a wage structure they’d like to maintain. Regardless of how willing or unwilling Stan Kroenke is to open his wallet, no club necessarily wants to balloon it’s wage bill with the signings of just two players. So there is some excuse for Arsenal to be apprehensive.
Whether or not expensive extensions for both players is good business in the boardroom, it’s certainly worthwhile on the pitch. Since 2013, Ozil and Sanchez have combined for 62 goals and 55 assists. Apart from the obvious goal and assist totals, the two have been key cogs in Arsenal’s attack. Ozil is renowned for his playmaking, and ability to find space. Sanchez is quick and strong. He’s able to deal with the Premier League’s physicality and he’s lethal in front of net.
Both players know their worth in the game today. If Arsenal isn’t willing to match that price then there would be suitors lining up for the pair. But money is only one aspect of it. Granted, money plays a pretty big role, but each player might have other aspirations as well. Sanchez, for example, has yet to win the Champions League, same with Ozil. As the two get older and doubt comes into their minds about whether or not Arsenal can win a competition like that, there might be some reluctance to sign a new contract.
Ozil has also complicated things further, suggesting that he will only sign an extension if Arsene Wenger remains manager. For some Arsenal supporters, that might be a price even higher than the German’s proposed wage demands.
A lot of this is speculation, of course. When it comes to contract negotiations, nothing is final until there is a signature. Both Ozil and Sanchez seem to have a good idea what they’re worth. That price is going to be steep for Arsenal to keep both players. Ozil might even require assurances on the future of the manager or he’ll be ready to walk. The two stars still have 18 months to go on their contracts, but as summer approaches the negotiation window begins to close. Neither player will go into next season without a new deal. Arsenal wouldn’t risk losing both players to free transfers. Arsenal will have to decide soon which direction the of their organization heads, and how expensive it will be.