Arsenal may be joint top of the Premier League, but they are still yet to tie down some of their biggest stars to new deals.
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – who combined beautifully for the Gunners’ third goal against Swansea – are waiting to commit their futures to the club, while Hector Bellerin also needs to put pen to paper as Barcelona and Manchester City wait in the wings.
Arsene Wenger has already admitted the club are not in a financial position to offer the kind of big money which could be put on the table by some of Europe’s elite clubs.
Sanchez, Ozil, and Bellerin will all no doubt be getting some sort of a pay rise, but Wenger is also confident that won’t be a factor in their decision if they do decide to stay.
“I think these kind of players can raise a little bit above the financial aspect of the game because they are not poor and they have to look really on the football side,” Wenger said, via Sky Sports.
“We have a scale of wages but it has become a bit more individual than when I arrived 20 years ago because every case is a bit special. It has changed a little bit but anyway – you don’t need to worry, they are all well paid.
“I blame nobody. If you were a player you would try the same. It has always been difficult to keep the good players.
They have to feel that you meet their needs at the club and they get paid for it. Ideally, you don’t go into the final year but that is why we negotiate before.
“They are wanted by other clubs and it’s normal they try to get the maximum out of their negotiations because they have 10 years to play at the top level if all goes well. My whole life I fight to get the players paid as much as I can.”
Wenger clearly believes that silverware will convince his stars to remain at the Emirates, but after another trophyless season last time out, he’s running out of time.
Now that City have started to stumble, Arsenal are in a decent position to lift the Premier League in May, but if they go a thirteenth year without winning it, they could well be waving goodbye to some of their key players.