Arsene Wenger made the bold claim that it was “ideal” Arsenal had eight players out of contract in less than 12 months’ time, also hinting that Mesut Ozil would see out his current deal and leave on a free transfer next summer.
In addition to the German playmaker, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy will also be out of contract next summer.
In a long explanation, Wenger claimed that there would be no effect on performance and that it would create an “ideal” competitive atmosphere in which individuals would be motivated to play for their futures – at Arsenal or elsewhere.
Asked whether it was an issue that he would have six players out of contract, Wenger said. “Not an issue. I think it’s an ideal situation.” Pressed on why that was the case, he said: “Because everyone has to perform.”
Wenger intimated that he felt Ozil, yet to agree a new deal, would run down his contract and potentially leave next summer. In response to a question as to whether he was happy for Ozil to go into the last 12 months of his deal, Wenger said: “Yes, I think in the future you will see it more and more. Why? Because the transfers are so high even for normal players, you will see more and more players going into the final year of the contract because no club will want to pay the amount demanded. I’m convinced in the next ten years it will become usual.”