Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits it's always difficult to keep good players
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has maintained that the contract negotiations with the players have always been difficult, suggesting that only "numbers" have changed over the years. The Gunners have several star players at the club, who are expected to get a new deal and this includes the likes of star trio of German international Mesut Ozil, Copa America winner Alexis Sanchez and right-back Hector Bellerin.
Ozil and the former Barcelona star's contract at the Emirates will expire in 2018, while the Spanish defender has one more year the former two. Bellerin's impressive performance has seen him reportedly attract interest from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and his former club, Barcelona.
To ward off interest from these two clubs, Arsenal are reportedly set to hand the defender a bumper deal. However, the north London club's manager has explained the difficulty of getting a player sign a new deal and claims that sometimes players use interests from other clubs to get a better deal.
"It was always difficult. Honestly, what has changed is the size of the numbers but the difficulty was always the same," Wenger told in his Champions League pre-match press conference.
"It’s always difficult to keep the good players because they are wanted by other clubs and it’s normal as well that the players try to get the maximum out of their negotiations because they have 10 years to play at the top level if all goes well.
"So it has always been difficult, you know, just the numbers have changed."
Ozil celebrated his 28th birthday by scoring the winners in the Gunners' 3-2 victory over Swansea City. The former Real Madrid playmaker is asking for a bumper deal, which could keep him with the current employers for the next few years.
Should Arsenal agree to Ozil's terms and conditions by handing a five-year deal, then he will be with the club until the age of 33. But failure from Arsenal to tie Ozil and Sanchez to a new deal could see the star duo leave the club after the end of the current campaign, for a lower fee as they will have only a year left on their contract.