Arsenal should have cut ties with contract rebels Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the summer instead of letting the wantaway duo run down their current deals, according to Gunners legend Lee Dixon.

Sanchez and Ozil are both in the final year of their respective contracts at The Emirates Stadium and are unlikely to pen fresh terms with Arsene Wenger's side amid apparent interest from Manchester City and Manchester United.

Instead of cashing in when they had the chance, Arsenal saw fit to keep the Chilean and German away from the clutches of their rivals and all but resign themselves to losing two highly esteemed attackers for free.

Wenger made his peace with the situation regarding Ozil and Sanchez, but Dixon, who made over 600 appearances for Arsenal during his 15-year spell at Highbury, insists such a set of circumstances would not have been tolerated during his career.

"We'd have just shown them the door. 'If you don't want to play, then go.' That's not changed," Dixon told Press Association, relayed by Goal.

"If a player doesn't want to play for you ... it happened with Michael Thomas 18 months after he scored [the title-winning goal against Liverpool] in '89, he was in dispute with the club or George about money. He ended up going in similar circumstances and signing with Liverpool.

"It's no different. If a player doesn't want to stay somewhere, yes, agents and players manipulate situations - and clubs do, in order to get the best deal for the parties concerned - but in general, if you don't want to go there, and you don't want to stay, then you will be ousted from the environment and dressing room pretty quickly.

"Players work out whether you want to be there or not, and certainly fans do when they see your performances on the pitch."

Gunners icon Alan Smith echoed his former teammate's sentiments over Sanchez and Ozil, and does not think Wenger has handled the former Barcelona and Real Madrid star's futures at all well.

Arsenal rejected a £60m bid from City for Sanchez in the dying embers of the summer transfer window, and Smith is "concerned" by the effects the former River Plate wonderkid's expected departure will have at the Emirates.

"If somebody doesn't want to be there and wants to wind their contract down, that's within their right," Smith said. "It's up to the manager then and how he handles that.

"Arsenal have a track record of allowing players to run down contracts, and these two are going to be the biggest examples. They could have got £60 million for Alexis Sanchez; Arsene and the club turned it down.

"Ozil's a slightly different kettle of fish but it might well be that they do lose those two players. I'd be more concerned about Sanchez going than Ozil."

Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez and Ozil are set to seek pastures new. Getty Images