Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil

Written by Carl Walker

Arsene Wenger is waiting to find out his punishment from Sunday’s push on the fourth official which occurred in the tunnel of the Emirates, but he has another problem, one that has been rumbling on for some time now and has still not been resolved, the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

The pair both have eighteen months left on their contracts with the gunners and are both cleverly using their agents in the negotiations to get each of them the same pay, believed to be upwards of £300,000 a week each and the pair are refusing to budge. These are Arsenal’s two world class players and their contract should reflect that right?

credit Ronnie Macdonald

Now leaving a players contract to run down to eighteen months is not uncommon, but it is strange that given it is Arsenal’s biggest two stars that it has been left this long. Both stars are 28, so realistically this could be the last big contract they earn and usually this wouldn’t be a problem but with the emergence of the mega money in China, there is an element of player power being used against the club.

There are offers on the table from China and more than likely clubs in Europe for Alexis and there is probably one for Ozil too, Alexis has reportedly been offered upwards of £400,000 a week along with some impressive bonuses from a mega money Chinese club, this is enough to make anyone’s head turn but you wonder if it’s enough to force Arsenal’s hand and offer the contact’s that the pair want. Now I know what gunners fans will be screaming ‘just sign them up’ but I don’t believe it is that cut and dry, and I don’t believe Arsenal should cave in so easily to both players demands. One player is replaceable and one should be retained at all cost’s.

credit AJ.B Photography

Mesut Ozil is a wonderful footballer, technically very gifted and on his day a real joy to watch. A mercurial attacking midfielder who can pick a pass, and for the first half of last season was handing out assists to his teammates like they were going out of fashion. However in the second half of the season, much like Arsenal, Ozil’s form tailed off. At the end of December he had registered an astonishing 16 assist’s but for the rest of the season only went on to add an additional three.

Mesut Ozil is an attacking midfielder, with that role comes an additional pressure of chipping in with goals and the stats don’t make great reading. In his Arsenal career, his best goal return is this current season where he has scored 9 goals, surpassing the 8 he scored the last term but not surpassing his best ever tally of 13 while playing for Wolfsburg. Mesut is in the peak of his career and has not broken the 10 goal barrier. Frank Lampard broke the 20 goal barrier consistently for Chelsea.

Now look at Alexis Sanchez, again an incredible talent, a player that would walk into any other team in Europe, physically very strong and also devilishly quick and skillful, he gives defenders nightmares when they play against him. He also holds an upper hand on Ozil in other areas of his game too.

Mesut Ozil is a luxury player in many respects, he doesn’t work without the ball and very rarely tracks back. Alexis, on the other hand, is non-stop, a great engine. Constantly on the move, closing down defenders and space, he often drops deep into a false nine to help start attacks. This does not go unnoticed by Arsenal fans, and football fans alike. Fans like to see the skillful players who also appreciate the need to work hard for their team. With Ozil, you don’t get he understands that.

Mesut Ozil is also not as versatile as Alexis, Alexis can play anywhere in the attack of the midfield, comfortably, and also, as proved this season, play up front in the absence of a recognised striker. Giving Arsenal a different element in the attacking third.

Compare Ozil’s records to Alexis record and you can instantly see that he is far more consistent in each of his seasons at Arsenal he has scored 17 goals or more and this is not playing up front, this has been playing from a wide position. It is only this season, where on occasion he has led the line and proven he can do this admirably for Arsenal.

Both players are internationals that have international honours. Mesut Ozil is a world cup winner with Germany and Alexis Sanchez has two Copa America’s with Chile. If Arsenal can sign them both up then that’s fantastic news for the club, but I hope they are not held to ransom by them both.

Pay Alexis Sanchez what he wants, and offer Mesut Ozil an improved deal, if he does not agree with the deal then he can be replaced, Alexis in my opinion absolutely cannot. If the club don’t agree on terms with Ozil, then time to cash in and there will be plenty of clubs willing to take him and Arsenal can subsequently replace him. With who, you say?

Miralem Pjanic – Juventus

The Bosnian international is currently in his first season with Juventus and has 5 goals in 12 appearances so far in Serie A but more importantly has 14 assists. A player of the same ilk as Ozil, tidy in possession and can pick a pass, Pjanic likes to dictate the tempo of the game with his range of passing.

James Rodriguez – Real Madrid

James has been frustrated this season with his role at Real Madrid after only starting 9 league games so far. Finished as top scorer at the World Cup in 2014 and made the team of the tournament he has all the attributes required to make a real difference to any team. Linked with moves to Juventus, Chelsea and Tottenham in recent windows, James is likely to leave in order to play more regularly.

Isco – Real Madrid

You feel it will either be him or James that leaves at some point in the near future. Isco has found himself a more regular starter this season with Zinedine Zidane, albeit from a deeper role in the centre of the park. He could easily make the transition further forward as an attacking midfielder for Arsenal as he has done in the past with Madrid and Malaga.

credit Kieran Clarke

Jack Wilshere

Staying with Arsenal there is a fourth option, Jack Wilshere. His career was stagnating at Arsenal and injury after injury hampered his availability. This season however he has made a loan move to the south coast with Bournemouth and he is thriving under Eddie Howe, almost reinvented himself and restarted his career with the cherries. Again though he only has eighteen months left on his current deal, which will be down to twelve in the summer when he returns to the emirates. This is yet another headache for Arsene, who himself may not be there, will need to sort out.

Simply put, Arsenal does not need to be held to ransom over the Ozil deal, there are alternatives out there if he doesn’t agree with the deal the club offer, which will no doubt be a very good one. If he doesn’t cash in while they can. However, with Alexis, he is too important for the gunners, his all round ability and work rate is simply fantastic and he will be very hard to replace and should be signed up no matter what the cost.

What decisions should Arsenal Take? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by joshjdss