LONDON • Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil want to leave Arsenal despite the stability provided by manager Arsene Wenger signing a new two-year contract, which the club announced on its website (www.arsenal.com) yesterday.
Sanchez's contract expires in 12 months, but The Times of London understands he is determined to force his way out of the club this summer to join Bayern Munich.
Ozil, who joined from Real Madrid for £42 million (S$74 million) in 2013, is preparing to run down his contract in order to secure a free transfer when his deal runs out next summer.
Arsenal have been trying to get their two biggest stars to sign new contracts for almost two years with no success.
The Gunners are also prepared to break their wage structure by offering Sanchez and Ozil £280,000 a week each - which would be more than double the wages of any other player at the club.
However, the duo are reluctant to sign due to concerns about the side's competitiveness after Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.
Sanchez has attracted firm interest from Juventus, Paris St-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern in recent months, with the German Bundesliga champions his preferred destination.
In addition to disillusionment about Arsenal's failure to challenge for significant trophies, notwithstanding a third FA Cup in four years, the Chile forward has also clashed with Wenger and several team-mates this season during matches and in training.
Ozil has not received the same level of interest as his form has been inconsistent during the second half of the season, but he is also reluctant to commit to Arsenal despite having the opportunity to double his wages.
The Germany midfielder will be 29 in October and his priority at this stage of his career is to win as many trophies as possible. He will reassess his position as next season unfolds.
Arsenal put to rest the uncertainty surrounding Wenger's future by confirming that the Frenchman had signed a two-year deal yesterday.
"I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement," the 67-year-old said.
"This is a strong group of players and with some additions, we can be even more successful. We're committed to mounting a sustained league challenge and that will be our focus next season."
Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke said: "Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe. Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing."
With Sanchez and Ozil likely to depart in the near future, Wenger will be looking for replacements now that his job is secure.
THE TIMES, LONDON