Arsene Wenger is hopeful the blow of Alexis Sanchez’s impending exit from Arsenal will be softened by Mesut Ozil agreeing a new deal.
Sanchez, out of contract at the end of the season, is poised to leave the north London club this month with Manchester City and Manchester United both in the race to sign him.
Wenger has admitted for the first time that it is unlikely the Chile international will sign a new deal with the Gunners, but is confident he can convince Ozil to stay.
Ozil, who could miss Arsenal’s Premier League clash at Bournemouth on Sunday with a knee complaint, has just six months to run on his current deal.
But Wenger insists the former Real Madrid playmaker can be persuaded to commit his long-term future to the Emirates Stadium.
Asked if he was more optimistic that Ozil will agree a new deal than he was last summer, Wenger replied: “Yes. There is still an opportunity for him [Ozil] to stay.
“These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well. So they want a combination of the two that big clubs can give them.
“Incidentally he’s won trophies with us. So he wants to fight as well for the Premier League, that’s normal when you are at that level.”
The rejuvenated Jack Wilshere, whose contract is also due to expire in the summer, is set to agree terms on a new deal following a string of strong performances.
“It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract, but we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left,” Wenger added.
Sanchez, Ozil and Wilshere all have six months to run on their respective deals, while Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott – who looks set to end his 12-year association with Arsenal this month – are all out of contract at the end of next season.
And Wenger believes the recent huge hike in transfer fees increases the likelihood of players running down their contracts.
“Honestly I believe, with inflation we have at the moment, players going to the end of the contract will happen more and more,” Wenger added. “For one simple reason: the transfers are too high.
“If a player doesn’t find a massive club, he will have to go [to the end], and even if you don’t want to extend his contract, the players will want to go to the end of their contract.
“So what is the player’s calculation? Okay the club wants £50million, £60m, because they want to replace me, they have to spend £50m or £60m, it will not happen, so I wait and I take a chunk of that contract in signing-on fee.
“That’s the calculation of the agent. What do the agents do? The agents say to the club, I bring him to you at the end of the contract, but you give me a big agent’s fee.
“So that basically, slowly, it’s killing the transfers. And you will have more and more players going to the end of their contract because of that.”