Originally published on Goonersphere.
At what point does something become untenable?
If stories are to be believed, then our headline acts Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are demanding a kings ransom to continue their excellence in an Arsenal shirt.
Newspapers have always erred toward the dramatic, and it is hard to fathom that our humble Chilean especially is asking for upwards of £250k per week. When do wages hit a ceiling? When does the club step in and put a halt to proceedings?
And if they do, is the fallout worth the hard stance?
If it all is true and Ozil and Sanchez have had their heads turned by their apparent market worth, then if they are also holding firm in talks with the club and threatening their exits from Arsenal – are they nothing more than mercenaries?
Their services go to the highest bidder – apparently Chelsea if the daily rags are to be held up as a beacon of virtue – and the loyalty and affection built up with their previous club and fanbase is destroyed. Badge kissing and pointing were nothing more than a macabre parody of a loyal gladiator doing his duty for his adoring public.
Do we think that our two mercurial men are truly that despicable? Ozil in particular has a huge following and every delicate flick is entrenched in the memory of his cadre of support. Could Mesut be merely holding up a facade when he performs his signature celebration? Are his rare roars of passion a mask?
The guy just bought a £10m pad in London – does that smack of a man who wants to go anywhere anytime soon?
Alexis Sanchez also, with his bouts of heroism, has constructed a bond with Gooners. His exploits with his dogs Atom and Humber, his charitable work for his native country, his infectious energy. They have all served to strengthen his ties to the millions who watch him affectionately each week.
The ball lies at the feet of the club hierarchy. Do they go for broke and realise that in order to progress they must pay these men what they would warrant with other clubs? Are the numbers that are being bandied around actually true?
Like it or loath it, there is a boundary which every set of negotiations have to avoid. If the limit is reached, then there is nowhere else to go. It means that the player has had his head turned by his agent, and that the club just cannot go on with talks. If the wages that are in the stories are to be believed, then that ship may have sailed.
Reputedly, our stars want parity with top earner in the Premiership – Paul Pogba. His wages come in at a hefty £290k a week. At this moment in time, Ozil commands £140k per week and Sanchez brings in £130k per week. There can be no doubt that these players deserve more than they currently earn. In today’s fiscal football scene, these wages are not becoming of what talent these men can unleash.
Arsenal are still deep in talks with both players, and Arsene Wenger has maintained that while these players have eighteen months on remaining on their contracts, the club will continue to attempt to bridge the gap and tie them up for the long term.
The underlining factor is that we want Ozil and Alexis at our club. There will be no shortage of teams who would snap them up if they were to be made available. Money would not be an issue, they would enjoy a fat contract and the club would enjoy a world class player enhancing their squad.
The sources may be wide of the mark or not, but what is true is that these talks may just hold Arsenal’s future in their grasp. If we decide to let them go as we cannot meet their demands, then we will take a step back. We will not be able to match our supposed rivals as we would be letting our two genuine stars go.
If we keep them, then we must compromise and pay them what they are worth, but not be held to ransom.
How much is too much? According to The Telegraph, nothing is too much.
Whilst the points you raise may have some foundation, particularly the dramatization by the populist press (Arsenal should levy them by headlines generated), it is also plausible that both players may have other issues they wish to have answered during the negotiation process.
Reflecting back to the RVP saga it would seem that he had a desire to a part of an EPL championship winning team. Also it was reported that he asked questions re Arsenal’s future plans. Ozil it would seem has hinted similarly.
I believe they are both worth more than their current financial packages based on goods already delivered. They are Arsenal’s short and medium term future. The other issues I’ve touched up upon will take some delicate negotiation that includes honest commitment to the future.
Realistically we should be looking to build around these two, not just selecting them to fit into a team that are, in several instances, are mediocre by comparison.
Putting myself (theoretically) into their boots I’d be looking for commitment to off load some of the current squad and beyond, coupled with a similar commitment to acquire some class players who can read their game and respond likewise.
Mesut and I maybe in conflict though, if the press are to be believed, as I am firmly in the camp that holds the opinion that the changes must start at the top – the board and team management – hopefully a fresh approach would deliver consistent results which in turn would generate the cash necessary to remunerate the squad.
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Very solid points. In terms of challenging for honours, our squad is the strongest it’s been. There is no excuse if we don’t contend for the title. This summer holds the answers, for the manager and the players waiting to see what happens.
Theoretically I agree with your comment re the squad by comparison with previous squads back to the Invincibles but there is a lack of desire in many of the current bunch. Once again by comparison, if you take our FA cup team in the recent Southampton game there was a passion from the kick off, regardless of the make up of the opposition.Money doesn’t buy that, the will to win set the pace from the onset.
It was the drive and speed on transition from defence to attack that captured the viewers attention. Much better to watch that than the square pass from one side to the other and back again. Blanket defence is most likely penetrated by speed and guile rather than to and fro. Just gives them more time to organise.
Lets hope the summer provides us with something different to look forward to next term.
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