What to do with these 5 Arsenal players who’s contracts run out soon?

By on September 9, 2019

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Arsenal haven’t always painted themselves in glory when it comes to managing contracts. From selling Wojciech Szczesny for £13m to not convincing Serge Gnabry he had a future at the club which meant he left for a measly £5m, Arsenal have had more badly handled instances than most. 

Even when it appears it went well, say the £40m Liverpool paid for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it was still a transfer where Arsenal had very little power. And then this summer, they had Aaron Ramsey’s bosman move to Juventus. 

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However, the board now hope that Ramsey will be the last player to hold such a strong hand when dealing with the club, although, it may not be that simple. 

Under former Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal players were very successful in running down contracts in order to obtain a move or a huge pay rise. Take Theo Walcott refusing to ‘sign da ting’ until he was offered north of £100,000 a week and more punishingly the sagas of Mesut Ozil (who secured £350k per week) and Alexis Sanchez (who moved to Utd and agreed £500k per week).

However, once Gazidis decided to join AC Milan and Vinai Venkatesham was promoted to Chief Executive where he works alongside Head of Football Raul Sanelhi, the contract approach is handled very differently at Arsenal Football Club.

Back in May the pair conducted an interview with Arsenal Media where they outlined their plans to never let players run in to their final years of their contracts. They made it clear that once a player, of any calibre, entered their penultimate year, a decision would be made; sign on or move on. 

And the players with contracts expiring in 2021; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and David Luiz. Having a firm policy is good in practise but in reality this may prove more difficult. 

It was reported during the summer that negotiations had begun with Aubameyang and the decision to sign him on is simple.  However, it will be interesting to see how the club handle the other players in the same position.

It was widely publicised how Mustafi was looked to be sold this window and if a suitable offer came in for Mesut Ozil, the board would have certainly considered it. Yet where will the club stand this time next year? 

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Mustafi will, if any suitors come in, be sold for any price in January with little remorse. However, the Ozil situation is slightly more delicate. Gazidis was so keen not to lose both the clubs brand superstars that he wielded to Ozil’s enormous wage demands. Since then, the German has shown very few signs of impressing and with Unai Emery not fully trusting Ozil, how the situation will be handled is a real test for Sanelhi and Venkatesham.

Sanelhi was heralded as Don Raul after this transfer window, and if he can sort out the Ozil situation with a happy ending, then he’ll only further improve his cult like status with the fans. The most likely outcome to Ozil’s career is probably to be left in the shadows throughout the season with an underwhelming exit next summer.

In doing so, the club will hope to offset losing their ‘brand’ player with their powerhouse front three stepping in to the limelight. Yet, it’s worth noting that Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe’s combined Instagram following of 12.4million dwarfs Mesut Ozil’s 20.9m. Whether we like it or not, these factors are considered when buying/selling a player.

Evidently the complexity of Mesut Ozil at the club seems to be never ending and there is of course the possibility that he finds some form, earns himself a starting position and maybe even a new contract.  Regardless, while the club handle the Ozil contract, they’ll simultaneously be considering what to do with centre backs Sokratis and Luiz.

Arsenal’s defensive issues will most likely exist in a years time and while Sokratis and Luiz offer much needed experience within the squad, neither has covered themselves in glory at this early stage in the season. Sokratis especially will probably be half the player he currently is in another years time. But, will the club be prepared to offer both players north of 30 new contracts?

Instinct says Sokratis will be sold next summer with Luiz staying another season. Whatever way it is looked at, there is still a lot of change coming at Arsenal.

Overall, there’s no doubt that the club have improved on their ability to handle transfers and contracts. Yet, the repercussions from the previous reign may linger longer than most would like. Raul Sanelhi seemed to thrive under such circumstances this window and the club will be hoping he can be just as successful in subsequent times.

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