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How Can Sanchez And Ozil Sign New Arsenal Deals When There's An Elephant In The Room At The Emirates?

15/12/2016 17:08 GMT | Updated 16/12/2017 10:12 GMT
Stuart MacFarlane via Getty Images

As well as things are going for Arsenal on the pitch at the moment, it's difficult to ignore the growing concern surrounding off-field matters.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil continue to make the Gunners sweat over contract negotiations and there appears a real possibility that they may not agree to extend their respective deals.

The duo have been involved in over half of the Gunners' goals this season and as the club's two most expensive signings, they perhaps hold the key to what lies ahead for the team in the coming months.

Of course, the Gunners have been here before. Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri refused to sign new deals several years ago and with just a single year left on their contracts, they were sold on to avoid losing them on a free the following season.

The Arsenal boss has vehemently denied that he would do the same with either Sanchez or Ozil and insisted that he would rather let them leave for nothing in the summer of 2018. Whether the board agree with that sentiment though, remains to be seen.

It's a terrifying prospect for Arsenal fans that they could lose their best two players. Many at the Emirates thought that the dark days where the Gunners were a selling club had long gone, however it may yet come back to haunt them.

But whilst the debate rumbles on over potential stumbling blocks involving wages and the Gunners' ambitions, there remains an elephant in the room. And in all fairness, it's a rather large one that nobody seems to have noticed...

Long term manager Arsene Wenger will see his current deal at the Emirates expire in just over six months time. It's likely the Frenchman will be offered an extension by his employers, but if an agreement has already been reached to sign it, then Wenger would surely have done so by now.

In reality, the 68-year-old could be waiting to see how the current season pans out and whether his team can finally end their 12 year wait to win the Premier League.

Should they fail to do so, then the mutinous atmosphere we saw at the Emirates last year will doubtlessly return, along with calls for the club's greatest ever manager to leave. The irony that some could get their wish next summer seems a real possibility, but as some wise man once said - "be careful what you wish for".

Say what you will about the Frenchman's 20 year reign, but he has become the cornerstone of the club. Wenger has overseen the building of a new stadium, developed the 'Arsenal way of playing' and is a fundamental part of the running of the club.

Should he leave, then the team's current identity will surely leave with him, as there really is no like-for-like replacement for Wenger. After all, replacing a long term manager is no easy process; just look what has happened up at Old Trafford since the great Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Manchester United slipped from reigning champions to finishing outside the top four following the Scot's retirement. Change can be either good for bad, but it is no coincidence that a tumultuous few seasons at United was caused by the departure of their long term manager.

The uncertainty that Wenger's exit would bring to Arsenal will be concerning to most of the players, but particularly to Sanchez and Ozil. The current side is built around the duo and they are given the freedom to roam about the pitch. A new manager may not necessarily be so flexible with their positioning and a change to Arsenal's playing style could make life very different for the pair.

Of course, the flip-side would be to suggest that Wenger's potential replacement may keep things the way they are. Sadly though, without knowing who that successor may be, no one really knows what the Frenchman's departure will mean for Arsenal, or indeed their future.

It's peculiar that nobody is concentrating on Wenger's situation but after 20 years at the helm, it's understandable that many have become complacent and simply expect the Frenchman to be in the hot seat next season.

However, the unthinkable could well happen next summer and with it, the end of an era for the club.

Until Wenger's future becomes clearer, it's unlikely that either Ozil and Sanchez will sign new deals. As the team's best players, they deserve to know what the future holds for the club, but the reality is that no-one knows what Arsenal will look like as of next June.

With so much doubt about what lies ahead, is it really any wonder then that both Ozil and Sanchez are refusing to sign their respective contract extensions?

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