Arsenal are increasingly confident that they may be able to secure the long-term future of Mesut Özil, despite the German’s contract expiring in the summer.
While manager Arsène Wenger has accepted it is highly unlikely Alexis Sánchez will extend his stay, negotiations are ongoing with Özil over a new deal and the club is more optimistic now than they were at the start of the season.
With midfielder Jack Wilshere also out of contract in the summer, Arsenal could feasibly be left in a position where they need to replace three senior players in one window.
“It looks like Sánchez will not extend his contract,” Wenger said. “But we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Özil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left.”
Wenger said talks with Özil were “very much alive” and that there is “still an opportunity for him to stay”. He has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho is keen to work again with the playmaker after managing him during his time at Real Madrid. Özil has missed the last two games due to injury, but could return to the side in Sunday's meeting with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Asked whether the driving motivation for Özil was cash or trophies, Wenger said: “It’s both, always. These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well. So they want a combination of the two that big clubs can give them.”
Wenger added that the inflation of transfer fees is “killing” the market and said more players will see out their contracts in an effort to receive huge signing-on fees at a new club.
“So what is the player’s calculation, said Wenger. “It’s ‘OK, the club wants £50m or £60m, because they want to replace me and they have to spend £50m or £60m. It will not happen, so I wait and take a chunk of that contract in a signing-on fee.’”