Keeping Arsene Wenger more important than extending Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Özil's contract, says Robert Pires

Luke Brown
The Independent
Pires is hopeful Wenger will stay at the club: Getty
Pires is hopeful Wenger will stay at the club: Getty

Arsenal legend Robert Pires has said that Arsene Wenger signing a new deal is far more important than either Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Özil signing contract extensions at the club.

Wenger is still yet to decide whether to extend his contract at the club having been offered a two-year contract extension at the Emirates, although has stated he will not retire at the end of the current season.

Opposition to the 67-year-old’s reign at the club has markedly increased in recent weeks, with a ‘Wenger Out’ banner being flown over The Hawthorns by a plane during the club’s dismal 3-1 Premier League defeat.

However Pires, a crucial member of the famed ‘Invincibles’ team of 2003/04, thinks that it is far more important Arsenal tie Wenger down to a new contract than Sanchez or Özil.

“I hope for him (Sanchez) and Ozil they extend with new contracts. The negotiation is very difficult and maybe complicated,” Pires said.

“But the most important is to see Arsene Wenger extend. Arsene Wenger is very, very important for Arsenal for now and for next season.

“I believe in Arsene Wenger. For me it was a privilege to work with him for six seasons. He was not perfect but he was good, we won some titles.”

Wenger has not yet decided if he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season (Getty)
Wenger has not yet decided if he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season (Getty)

Pires is not the first Invincibles team member to call on Wenger to stay at the club.

Jens Lehman commented on talkSPORT: “It’s very difficult to replace intelligence, and we all know he is a very intelligent man and he’s still got the fire. With all he’s done for the club, I think he deserves not to go on such a bad spell of results.”

And Sol Campbell has described Wenger as a “visionary” who deserves another two years at a club he helped to transform.

“I think he will assess it, he has two years on the table. I think eventually he will take it,” the former England defender said earlier this month.

“What he has done for the club, how he has steered the club from Highbury to the new ground, and also the training ground, obviously now there are other clubs with unbelievable training grounds but at the time he was visionary with his ideas about the training ground - he kind of co-designed that.”

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