London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger insists Mesut Ozil won’t base his contract talks with Arsenal solely on the uncertain future of the Gunners manager.
Wenger’s current deal only runs until the end of the season and he has yet to reveal whether he will extend his 20-year reign at the Premier League club.
With Wenger’s future still to be decided, Ozil this week said he wants to know whether the 67-year-old will still be at the helm if he agrees a new contract.
Ozil and Arsenal team-mate Alexis Sanchez both have 18 months left on their present deals and are reportedly seeking parity with the Premier League’s top earners if they are to remain at the Emirates Stadium beyond 2018.
Wenger acknowledged his future was a consideration for Ozil, but he feels the Germany midfielder’s decision will be influenced by many other factors as well.
Asked if he had been put under pressure to decide his own future, Wenger told reporters on Friday: “No, not necessarily.
“He would like to know what happens on the managerial front of course, but I don’t think that’s the main part of his decision.
“I think it’s part of it, but it’s not the only thing. There are many other ingredients in every negotiation. Hopefully we will find a conclusion with him very quickly.”
With Arsenal again struggling to mount a sustained title bid, it has been suggested both stars would consider leaving the north Londoners.
But Wenger has been through many similar situations with his best players in the past and has no intention of complaining about the slow progress of negotiations.
“We always speak. I speak more with his agent on that front, about contracts, than I do with him,” he said.
“We do not master that situation alone. Let’s not forget that all these players have 18 months to go. That’s a very long time in football.
“We have to keep that as quiet as possible and try to find an agreement and at the end of the day, as well, respect our line of conduct that we always have.”
It isn’t all bad news for Wenger on the contract front as France internationals Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin all signed new contracts earlier this week.
And Wenger hopes his compatriots putting pen to paper could inspire Ozil and Sanchez to do the same.
“Generally I would say yes,” he said when asked if others may be encouraged to follow suit.
“Because the squad has a great spirit and I believe as well that the players will want to stay together.”
Regardless of the contract stalemate, Wenger is unlikely to spend big money in the January transfer window and, asked if a deal for Torino forward Andrea Belotti was possible, he made a wry reference to United States President-elect Donald Trump.
“That’s what you call today ‘fake news’,” he said after Trump made the same response to questions about a Russian dossier which allegedly contains comprising material about him.
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