Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that he still believes Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere will sign new contracts at the club, but admitted that Alexis Sanchez will depart at the end of the season at the latest.
Thus, he also admitted Arsenal is facing a “rebuild” with the Gunners slowly slipping down the table in recent years and their superstars dragging out contract negotiations.
“There is still an opportunity for him [Ozil] to stay. That’s very much open,” Wenger said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s match at Bournemouth. “It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract. But we want to keep Jack, and we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil. So the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left.”
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Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season and currently sits in sixth, leaving the Gunners with no other choice than to ponder their current squad makeup. With Sanchez, Ozil, and Wilshere all out of contract this summer, Arsenal has taken flak for allowing their best players to reach this perilous point. Sanchez in particular has been poorly managed, with the Chilean prepared to either leave for a cut-rate price this winter, or leave for free in the summer.
“These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well,” Wenger said, speaking of Sanchez. “So they want a combination of the two, which big clubs can give them. Incidentally he [Sanchez] won trophies with us. So he wants to fight as well for the Premiership. That’s normal when you’re at that level.”
Mesut Ozil has had a hot and cold season for Arsenal, a microcosm of his career at the Emirates. Jack Wilshere has come back strong from a spell of injuries and a loan at Bournemouth, and playing some of the best soccer of his career over the last few weeks.