Same with midfield maestro Santi Cazorla, they are known as Arsenal’s two most technically gifted first-team players. On the pitch, they have broken goal and assist records while off the pitch they guarantee millions of shirt sales and commercial deals – but Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s statuses as fan favorites may be slipping away due to their failure to sign contract extensions.
The public pursuit of Alexis by Manchester City culminated in a deadline day flap from the Gunners which saw the Chilean stay put and Thomas Lemar reject both Arsenal and Liverpool. Ozil, meanwhile, has not sought a move away and only recently re-entered previously halted contract negotiations due to Arsene Wenger’s uncertainty over his own future.
Ozil and Sanchez are not the only players at Arsenal with expiring contracts, however.
Jack Wilshere’s future is up in the air and it’s still unknown where his career will continue after his current deal runs out next summer. In 2019, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal and Petr Cech all come to the end of their contracts and, although they might not be considered in the same caliber as the talismanic duo, the short-term approach to keeping players at the club warrants further scrutiny.
It’s easy to lay the blame at the feet of the players and their representatives for seeking bigger financial incentives in an over-inflated market, but why are Arsenal in such a terrible position when it comes to key players and expiring contracts?
There are a number of reasons behind the north Londoners’ dallying over tying their key men to long-term deals.
The case of Sanchez, in particular, is something Arsenal have experienced before. At 28 years old, Alexis made it clear through his representative Fernando Felichevich that he wanted to leave the Gunners for Manchester City this summer. It was reported on the transfer throughout the back end of last season until transfer deadline day and it is understood that Pep Guardiola persuaded the Chilean to join after a phone conversation, something his former Barcelona manager unsurprisingly denies.
As is commonplace with players when negotiations are opened, all avenues are explored and interested parties will be considered. City’s desire to land Sanchez came into play midway through last season and it became clear several weeks after the FA Cup final that the player wanted to leave Arsenal for a club competing in the Champions League. Ultimately, it was a decision made for footballing reasons – as has been the main reason for Sanchez leaving his previous clubs.