Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has refgused to offer any guarantees that Mesut Ozil and Chilean international Alexis Sanchez will remain at the Emirates beyond the end of the season.
The duo are in grave doubt due to their wage demands, with the Emirates outfits understood to be set to listen to offers. Wenger is insistent that the duo will maintain their outstanding form despite continued doubt about their long-term plans.
“Eighteen months is a long time in football,” the Frenchman said. “I can’t give any assurances. But they have 18 months and are completely committed.
“Beyond that we will try and extend that contract but I cannot make a subject of that. That’s a normal part of negotiating. The less you talk about it, the better it is.
“I believe that we live in the world where Sanchez and Ozil have a lot of money and can choose where they play.
“The problem is when the players are a big name. It is a repetition of all these things. But it does not improve the speed of delivery. Sometimes it is quick, sometimes is slow. The handicap of being slow is it is served at every press conference. Contracts have always been difficult but it is a part of my job.
“Will it impact the dressing room? No, we are professionals. 18 months is a long time and I don’t believe that is any problem.
“They’ve been hugely important. You can talk a lot but the most important thing is what they do on the pitch.
“Their commitment is absolutely total. The first quality of a professional guy is to give 100 per cent. It’s here and now, that’s what it means to be professional.”
Chelsea are believed to be interested in Sanchez, testing Arsenal’s resolve but Wenger, publicly at least, claims it is not an option to sell the pair early like they did with Robin van Persie in 2012.
“These players have 18 months left,” said Wenger. “They will stay for 18 months and hopefully much longer. These players will stay for at least 18 months. At some stage you will accept negotiations are private and secret. We’re professional and work until the last day of our contracts.”