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Arsenal Risk Another Farcical Summer Of Contract Talks

 • by Simon Collings
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At the end of July, after helping Arsenal win the Emirates Cup, Arsène Wenger made a startling claim on the eve of the new season.

It came after the Frenchman was asked whether it was an issue that his side was starting the new season with five or six players in the final year of their contracts.

“Not at all. I think it’s an ideal situation,” said Wenger.

Really? Ideal? Why?


Arsène Wenger discusses Alexis Sánchez and… by FootballWhispers

“Everybody has to perform,” he added.

“When you are a football player you perform until the last day of your contract.

“What does it change that you have two years or one year to go? You go out on the football pitch, you want to play and to do well.

“When you’re a football player you want to go out and play and do as well as you can.

“What has that to do with the length of your contract? It’s a bit amazing.

“How long do you know that you will work for your company? As long as you work, you do well.”

In an ideal world, Wenger’s beliefs would ring true.

However, as this summer has shown, Arsenal’s transfer activity has been far from ‘an ideal situation’.

Players’ contracts have tied the Gunners up in knots when it has come to doing business and the final few days of the window ended in a farce.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has left Arsenal for Liverpool.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, despite Wenger repeatedly saying he would stay, eventually left for Liverpool for £35m as he had just one year to run on his contract.

Alexis Sanchez’s refusal to pen a contract extension meant Arsenal tried to ship him out and bring in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as a last-minute replacement.

Neither deal could get done and now Sanchez, along with Mesut Özil, will play this season under the pretence he will most likely leave for free next summer.

Hardly an ideal situation for anyone involved.

Arsenal fans will be hoping that such a summer of uncertainty will not happen again but worryingly, just around the corner, is lurking a similar scenario.

Just as the past few months have been dominated by contract talks over new deals for the likes of Ozil and Sanchez, next summer could well be the same.

For, unless talks progress quickly, Arsenal will have SEVEN senior players in the final year of their contracts next summer.

Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina, Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud, Petr Cech and Theo Walcott are all in that boat.

All have deals that expire in June 2019 and, as of yet, there has been no talk of any of the seven being close to an extension.

Supporters may argue Arsenal still have plenty of time to resolve the issue, but as shown by this summer there is a danger in leaving it late.

Plenty of time has been spent trying to sort those players whose deals expires in 2018, meaning the class of 2019 risk being forgotten.

Understandably it is not easy to negotiate new contracts for players in the current market.

The rise in TV revenue means agents are demanding even more for their clients as money floods into the game.

“People will anticipate on inflation,” Wenger explains.

“When you speak with an agent he says: ‘Okay my player today makes £3m, but with the money coming I want now £8m.’

“But you can’t afford it. You cannot go from £3m to £8m. That’s what they want because they anticipate inflation on the inflation.

“That is a very dangerous game.”

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It may well be a dangerous game, but it is one Arsenal cannot risk being left behind in.

Wenger has spoken before about how he predicts players will more and more go to the end of their contracts.

That is all very well, but Arsenal cannot allow that to hamper their own business when it comes to new arrivals.

As their bitter rivals Tottenham have shown, continually tying down players to long contracts is the key to guarding your assets.

Arsenal, naturally, want to be in the same situation and it was reported in June 2017 they were to start talks with Ramsey over an extension.

Negotiations with other players whose deals expire in 2019 were also said to be on the horizon too and it was added that the club were doing all this to ensure a summer like this one never happened again.

Arsenal supporters will just be hoping that turns out to be the case, but the clock is already ticking.

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