Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger optimistic about deals for Ozil and Sanchez

By Jim van Wijk

Arsene Wenger believes earning more money should not be the only incentive for the world's elite footballers - although he admits that his view may make him "naive".

The Gunners boss was reacting to reports both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are holding out for parity with the Premier League's top earners as the duo continue to negotiate extensions to their current deals.

Talks with representatives for both players have been ongoing for some time but it has been claimed that only contracts that see Ozil and Sanchez move into the same pay league as the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United will keep them at the club.

Wenger, talking in Switzerland ahead of tonight's final Champions League group game against Basel, said he believes there should be more to top players' ambition than simply earning a similar amount to their peers.

"I would like to say the luxury of the modern game should be it's not only about the money, because the players make anyway wherever they play good money at this level," he said.

"I believe, personally, and maybe I am a bit naive, but it's more about getting to meet the players' needs.

"That's about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.

"So I think, for me, that is more important nowadays and an important ingredient for every player to consider. The money is good everywhere for everybody."

Wenger added: "You know, nowadays, you negotiate with the agents more than with the player. We are in negotiations, yes.

"The players have 18 months away from the end of their contracts, so it's normal. But the players always come in at the end, when it's a renewal, because with the first contract you need the players.

"But after that, when you renew, 90% of the contracts are negotiated with the agents."

Arsenal look set to finish runners-ups in Group A, with Paris St. Germain only needing to beat minnows Ludogorets at home to assure themselves of top spot.

Despite that, Wenger has brought a strong squad with him to St. Jakob-Park, and hinted it can sometimes be detrimental to rotate an in-form side following on from Sanchez's hat-trick heroics in their 5-1 win at West Ham.

"I keep the group together, we have a squad that is united," he added.

"But the best way when a guy is in good success and confidence, it's more dangerous to stop him than keep him going."

Belfast Telegraph


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