Ozil coy on Arsenal
Frenchman insists it is not just money because Gunners can still win silverware
BY RIATH AL-SAMARRAI/ Arsene Wenger was discussing Mesut Ozil’s unsigned contract when he made a quip: “If you have a good bank, call me.”
There was one of those little Wenger smiles but it is no joke that Arsenal will need to break the bank, or at the very least their wage structure, given that Ozil is thought to want about £200,000 (Sh24.6m) a week to extend his deal beyond 2018.
Yet the protracted discussions are focusing on more than finances, as it is Ozil’s firm desire to be part of a title-winning team. Proving that Arsenal are capable of that will be just as important, Wenger has revealed.
He said: “I don’t think he needs convincing. He wants to stay here. If you have a good bank, call me.
“It’s not just money. Arsenal can win titles of course. But that’s what we have to show.
“We are in a league where Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, everybody fights and you cannot guarantee that.” Asked if Ozil, who currently earns £140,000 (Sh17,3m) a week, and the club are far apart in their talks, Wenger said: “We keep that discreet. At due time we will come out with that.
“Today it’s not my main worry. We want to keep our best players, of course. The more I say that, the more he is in a stronger position.”
Ozil’s position was enhanced here. His volley to put Arsenal 3-1 ahead was beautiful, not to mention crucial in lifting his team level on points with Manchester City.
That Arsenal nearly coughed up a sixth straight league win was a concern for Wenger, who believes his side need more of a ‘rigorous attitude’ if they are to chase the title.
He said: “We are all conscious that we still have some things to improve in our game. We have to go a step higher up to go the next level.
“We have to keep our rigorous attitude. You always do what the game demands.”
New Swansea manager Bob Bradley admitted he has his “work cut out” to keep the Welsh club up.
He said: “In the moment we understand that it’s been a tough stretch and when you look at the table this week you understand that our work is cut out for us.”