Values, not pay, are what keeps players: Wenger

LONDON • Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's hopes of securing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to new long-term contracts will depend more upon convincing the stars of the "values" and ambition of the club, rather than the financial package on the table.

Sanchez's deal expires in the summer of 2018, with negotiations ongoing with his representative Fernando Felicevich over an extension.

The Chilean, a £30 million (S$54 million) signing from Barcelona in 2014, earns a weekly salary of around £130,000 and would expect that to rise to more than £200,000 if he commits to new terms.

German international Ozil currently earns £140,000 a week at the Emirates Stadium.

However, Wenger is unconvinced that money will be the players' principal motivation when it comes to deciding whether their stay is extended.

"Well, I would like to say the luxury of the modern game should be that it's not only about the money, because the players make good money at this level wherever they play," the Frenchman said ahead of Arsenal's final Champions League group game against Basel.

"I believe personally, and maybe I am a bit naive, that it's more about getting to meet the player's needs. That's more about the way the club have values, the way the club have ambition, the way the club respect the players.

"So I think, for me, that is more important nowadays and an important ingredient for every player to consider. The money is good everywhere for everybody.

"You know, nowadays, you negotiate with the agents more than with the player. We are in negotiations, yes. (Sanchez and Ozil) are 18 months away from the end of their contracts, so it's normal to be talking."

Sanchez, 27, and Ozil, 28, have been key to Arsenal's latest Premier League title challenge. The Gunners are second after 14 games - three points behind Chelsea.

Sanchez, who has enjoyed a prolonged spell as Arsenal's main striker this season, leads the club in league goals (11) and assists (four) this term.

Ozil has contributed with four league goals and two assists.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Values, not pay, are what keeps players: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe