Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are set to be disappointed in their pursuit of bumper new contracts to extend their Arsenal stay beyond 2018 after chairman Sir Chips Keswick made it clear that the club will remain 'rational' while negotiating new deals.
Arsenal announced £12.6m ($15.6m) pre-tax profits for six-months ending November 2016 and an increase in their football turnover to £191.5m. The results also showed a record investment in players at £110.5m which include the signings of Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez in the summer.
The north London club have invested not only in transfer fees, but also in wages with Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin signing new improved deals. The club chairman confirmed that further work is needed in securing other players, but Gunners fans who were expecting the club to pull out all the stops to retain Sanchez and Ozil, who are reportedly seeking £250,000-a-week extensions are set to be disappointed, with Sir Chips making it clear that the club will not be held to ransom.
"As expected, increased Premier League broadcasting revenues have had a direct impact on player costs both in terms of transfer prices and player wage demands," Sir Chips said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"We have continued to invest in the region of key players," Sir Chips pointed out. "Francis Coquelin, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud have all signed new contracts, while we have taken up options to extend the contracts of Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla.
"Further work is required in the area of contract renewals and we will continue to invest rationally in our squad retention. While these are market forces that have contributed directly over time to the success of the Premier League, I would sound a note of caution in light of the very material contractual commitments to future wages that clubs are taking on," he added.
The FA Cup and a place in the top four is Arsenal's only hope after their Premier League and Champions League hopes were extinguished in recent weeks by Chelsea and Bayern Munich respectively. The north London club's failure to achieve the minimum requirement of European football could make it hard for them to retain Ozil and Sanchez, who have formed a strong partnership on the pitch.
Apart from the German and Chilean, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs will also be entering the final-year of their contracts at the end of the current season.